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Full text of "The independent film & video monthly"

January/February 2001 A Publication of The Foundation for Independent Video and Film 



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11 



FILM & VIDEO MONTHLY 



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Publisher: Elizabeth Peters 

Editor in Chief: Patricia Thomson 
leditor@aivf.orgl 

Managing Editor: Paul Power 
lindependent@aivf.org] 

Listings Editor: Scott Castle 
lfestivals@aivf.orgl 

Intern: Jim Colvill 

Contributing Editors: Richard Baimbridge, Lissa Gibbs, 
Gary 0. Larson, Cara Mertes, Robert L. Seigel, Esq. 

Design Director: Daniel Christmas 
lstartree@speedsite.com] 

Advertising Director: Laura D. Davis 
(212) 807-1400 x. 225; [displayads@aivf.org] 

Advertising Rep: Bob Hebert 

lbob@aivf.orgl 

• 

National Distribution: 

Ingram Periodicals (800) 627-6247 

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!R: Send address changes to: 
The Independent Film & Video Monthly, 304 Hudson St., 6 fl., NY, NY 10013. 

The Independent Film & Video Monthly (ISSN 0731-5198) is published monthly 
except February and September by the Foundation for Independent Video and Rim 
(FIVF), a tax-exempt educational foundation dedicated to the advancement of media 
arts and artists. Subscription to the magazine is included in annual membership dues 
($55/yr individual; $35/yr student; $100/yr nonprofit/school; $150/yr 
business/industry) paid to the Association of Independent Video and Filmmakers 
(AIVF), the national trade association of individuals involved in independent film and 
video. Library subscriptions are $75/yr. Contact: AIVF, 304 Hudson St., 6 fl., NY, NY 
10013, (212) 807-1400; fax: (212) 463-8519; independent@aivf.org; www.aivf.org 
Periodical Postage Paid at New York, NY, and at additional mailing offices. 

%*/^ Publication of The Independent is made possible in part with pub- 
, ?*Tf. , lie funds from the New York State Council on the Arts, a state agency, 
",°™"A" and the National Endowment for the Arts, a federal agency. 

Publication of any advertisement in The Independent does not constitute an 
endorsement. AIVF/FIVF are not responsible for any claims made in an ad. Letters to 
The Independent should be addressed to the editor Letters may be edited for length. 
All contents are copyright of the Foundation for Independent Video and Film, Inc. 
Reprints require written permission and acknowledgement of the article's previous 
appearance in 77je Independent. The Independent is indexed in the Alternative 
Press Index and is a member of the Independent Press Association. 

© Foundation for Independent Video & Film, Inc. 2001 
AIVF/FIVF staff: Elizabeth Peters, executive director; Alexander Spencer, administra- 
tive director; Michelle Coe, program director; Thalia Hanthas, membership coordina- 
tor; James Israel & Moikgantsi Kgama-Gates, information services assistants; Greg 
Gilpatrick & Josh Sanchez, web consultants; Anne Hubbell, development associate; 
Shane Bunnag, Adam Eisenberg, Renee Griffith, Tricra Peters, interns; AIVF/FIVF legal 
counsel: Robert I. Freedman.Esq. Cowan, DeBaets, Abrahams & Sheppard 

Visit 77ie Independent online at: www.aivf.org 

AIVF/FIVF Board of Directors: Doug Block, Paul Espmosa, Dee Dee Halleck, Vivian 
Kleiman, Lee Lew-Lee, Graham Leggat*, Ruby Lerner*, Richard Linklater, Cynthia 
Lopez*, Diane Markrow (president), Jim McKay (chair), Robb Moss (vice president), 
Elizabeth Peters (ex officio), Robert Richter (treasurer), James Schamus*, Valerie Soe 
(secretary). *FIVF Board of Directors only 



2 THE INDEPENDENT January/February 2001 




Upfront 



7 News 

IFFCON and EVEO's virtual 
pitch; Solaris' new finishing 
fund; The Shooting Gallery 
and cineBLAST! buyouts; 
ITVS's Jim Yee retires; 
American High back on the air; 
more funds at Jerome. 

by Brendan Peterson; 
Tamara Krinsky; Paul 
Power 

15 Opinion 

Requiem for a Dream's producer 
calls for a re-examination of 
the ratings process. 

by Eric Watson 

16 Wired Blue Yonder 

Screenwriter 2000 allows two 
writers to work on the same 
script at the same time on-line. 

by Paul Power 

18 Festival Circuit 

Views from the Avant Garde at 
the New York Film Festival 

by Brian Frye 

Departments 

22 Books 

Emile de Antonio in the first 
person. 

by Brian Frye 

24 Technology 

A sampler of visual effects, 
animation, and compression 
software for your desktop edit- 
ing system. 

by Greg Gilpatrick 

28 Legal 

How WGA, DGA, and SAG 

are dealing with Internet and 
multimedia contracts. 

by Robert Seigel 



31 On View 

A selection of this month's 
releases and TV airdates. 

by Jim Colvill 



FAQ & Info 

44 Distributor FAQ 

Shooting Gallery 
Entertainment gives over- 
looked features a chance — 
and comes out a winner. 

Y LlSSA GIBBS 



46 Funder FAQ 

Venice, CA-based Echo Lake 
Productions provides financing 
for narrative features. 

Michelle Coe 



49 Festivals 
54 Notices 
60 Classifieds 




64 Events 

66 Salons 

67 Member Benefits 



COVER: Michelle Yeoh in Ang Lee's 
Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon, 
Good Machine's latest release. 



January/February 2001 THE INDEPENDENT 3 



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PorfGCt Pitch: 

EVEO and IFFCON's On-line Pitch Session 



G^D 



by Brendan Peterson 



EDITED BY PAUL POWER 

accessibility of projects to web viewers — 
including potential financiers — for hun- 
dreds of filmmakers. Since its launch in 
1999 Eveo has focused on leveraging the 



Last July the International Film 
Financing Conference (IFFCON) teamed 
with Eveo, a "user-generated" video web 
site, to create EveoPitch, an opportunity 
for filmmakers to pitch narrative or docu- 
mentary projects to a jury of industry exec- 
utives by creating short, on-line movies. 
Filmmakers were invited to submit three- 
minute videos, or "eveos," to sell their 
ideas for a feature-length narrative or doc- 
umentary project. Almost 80 submissions 
were received, ranging from talking head 
testimonials to artsy animations. 

Filmmaker Katherine Brooks first heard 
about EveoPitch at Outfest where she was 
screening one of her films. "I had two days 
to think of a creative way to pitch the idea 
I had for a remake of the 1931 German 
classic Maedchen in Uniform," says Brooks. 

"Initially, I thought it was important for 
me to treat this as a real pitch and cover 
things like marketing and budget. But in 
the end I stuck with the main feature of 
my movie, the story." 

Brooks created a pitch that featured the 
filmmaker climbing a tree in slow motion 
and using a series of signs to highlight the 
themes of her film and was ultimately cho- 
sen as one of four winners. Her prize? An 
all- expenses paid trip and in-person meet- 
ing with a top-level development execu- 
tive to discuss her project. In addition she 
received a check for $1,000 to create an 
eveo to premiere on the Eveo web site. 
After one meeting Brooks is cautiously 
optimistic. "At this point I don't have too 
many expectations, but I do believe it will 
get funded through EveoPitch," she says. 

Other EveoPitch winners included Kelly 
Anderson and Tami Gold for the docu- 
mentary Every Mother's Son, Gregory 
Feldman for his narrative Beginning of the 
Epitaph, and Yoav Potash for his documen- 
tary Point of Entry. For these filmmakers, 
the road to the EveoPitch winning circle 
was fast and furious. 

To begin, each EveoPitch submission 
was shown on Eveo.com where an on-line 
audience voted for their 10 favorites. At 
the same time staff members at IFFCON 




and Eveo chose the 10 entries they liked 
best. Finally, a live audience at San 
Francisco's Resfest 2000 voted on the 20 
finalists, selecting its favorites. The top 20 
finalists were then screened and evaluated 
by a jury of film and TV executives. 
Ironically, despite the high tech nature of 
the EveoPitch concept, the jurors them- 
selves all watched the pitches on good old- 
fashioned videotape, rather than on-line. 

IFFCON executive director Wendy 
Braitman saw the partnership with Eveo as 
the logical next step for her organization. 
"EveoPitch falls right in line with 
IFFCON's long-term goal to connect film- 
makers with financiers," says Braitman. 
Since 1994 IFFCON has provided a meet- 
ing ground to assist in the financial devel- 
opment of nearly 400 independent films, 
among them Three Seasons, Crumb, and 
Getting to Know You. "We liked the integri- 
ty of this project," she says. "It wasn't 
about false promises. Sure it would be nice 
to hand filmmakers a million dollars, but 
getting these meetings with executives is 
more of a long-term strategy for success." 

For Eveo the chance to partner with 
IFFCON, their San Francisco neighbor, 
meant a credibility boost for this new web 
site and, more importantly, increasing the 



latest technology and the Internet to give 
filmmakers of all shapes and sizes a voice. 
With EveoPitch, these filmmakers were 
given a chance to sidestep the barriers of 
the Hollywood machine and get their 
ideas through to the people who make 
movies happen. 

Eveo's senior director of talent and busi- 
ness affairs, Danielle Knight, was excited 
to see EveoPitch making a difference for 
some of the filmmakers she works with. 
"Eveo.com is built on the idea that film- 
makers should be empowered to express 
themselves. With EveoPitch filmmakers 
can take it to the next level by gaining 
access that they don't generally have." 

When asked about the possibility of 
future EveoPitch projects, Knight is uncer- 
tain at best. "At this point we're going to 
play it by ear. It's been fantastic and we 
want to do it again. But it's a big project 
and we aren't sure whether we are in a 
position to commit into the future. We'll 
wait and see how this first one plays out." 

For further into, contact: www.ifTcon.org 
or www.eveo.com 

Brendan Peterson [swordfshfQ wenet.net] is a 

critic & writer who covers independent film in the 
San Francisco Bag Area. 



January, February 200 1 THE INDEPENDENT 7 




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The field's best resources 
for Self Distribution: 

Published to order, ensuring the most current information available! 

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Other essential resources for independents: 

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The Independent Film and Video Monthly ISSN: 0731-0589 © Foundation for Independent Video and Film 




■ 



The mission of the Association of Independent Videc 
and Filmmakers (AIVF) is to increase the creative 
and professional opportunities for independent videi 
and filmmakers and to ensure and enhance the growti 
of independent media by providing services, advocac) 
and information. In these ways, AIVF promotes 
diversity and democracy in the communication and 
expression of ideas and images. 

AIVF Founding Principles: 

1 The Association is an organization of and for independer 
video- and filmmakers. 

2 The Association encourages excellence, commitment 
and independence; it stands for the principle that video ai 
filmmaking is more than just a job, that it goes beyond 
economics to involve the expression of broad human 
values. 

3 The Association works, through the combined efforts c 
the membership, to provide practical, informational, and 
moral support for independent video- and filmmakers and 
is dedicated to ensuring the survival and providing suppoi 
for the continuing growth of independent video and 
filmmaking. 

4 The Association does not limit its support to one genre 
ideology, or aesthetic., but furthers diversity of vision in 
artistic and social consciousness. 

O The Association champions independent video and filn 
as valuable, vital expressions of our culture, and is 
determined to open, by mutual action, pathways toward 
exhibition of this work to the community at large. 



Solaris Power 

New finishing fund from the 
Tumbleweeds team. 




From Stephen Earnhart's 
Mule Skinner Blues. 



weeds, 
1999 
they 
duced 
wrote/di- 
rected 
respectively, 
they decided to try to prevent the same 
fate from befalling other filmmakers. Their 
newly formed Solaris Completion Partners 
is a finishing fund that provides postpro- 
duction financing, technical support, and 
sales representation to independent film- 
makers. 

"We wanted to form a company of film- 
makers, so that if you needed additional 
monies it didn't feel like you were going 
and talking to suits, which can be intimi- 
dating," says Greg O'Connor. Solaris 
Completion Partners has currently com- 
mitted to three documentary projects: 
Barbara Kopple's My Generation (a look at 
the Woodstock festivals of 1969, 1994, and 
1999), Stephen Earnhart's Mule Skinner 
Blues (an exploration of the artistic aspira- 
tions of a group of individuals living in a 
trailer park near Jacksonville, Florida), 
and the John Hyams-directed The 
Specimen (a look at the world of no-rules 
fighting and a champion fighter who defies 
every stereotype of what that should be) . 

Jem Greenhalgh, producer of The Speci- 
men, chose to work with Solaris specifical- 
ly because of their filmmaker-friendly atti- 
tude. "We went through four other financ- 
ing groups of investors who were totally 
trying to take advantage of us, hitting us 
with deal points, lawyers, et cetera. When 
we met with Solaris, they were open to 



what we were doing and they weren't try- 
ing to rob us blind. I was skeptical until the 
contract came, but when I read it, it was 
exactly what they said it would be." 

Solaris is also interested in supporting 
narrative features, but has not yet found a 
project in which they have felt strongly 
enough to invest. "While a film doesn't 
have to be typically commercial or contain 
name talent, we have to believe that the 
film is strong and unique enough to garner 
theatrical distribution," explained Greg 
O'Connor. "We have an obligation to our 
investors, but it's really about stuff we 
believe in." According to Josh Fagin, who 
runs the finishing fund with the 
O'Connors, aesthetic consideration of a 
film comes before financial consideration. 

Seed money for Solaris originally came 
from a portion of the money made from 
the 1999 Sundance sale of Tumbleweeds to 
Fine Line Features. Greg O'Connor then 
raised the rest through private investors. 
Financing is put into the company, which 
is a limited liability corporation, rather 
than into a particular project. In this way, 
investors have no creative decision-mak- 
ing power, and are buying into the exper- 
tise of those who run Solaris. Finding 
investors for the fund is an ongoing 
process. Financially, the Solaris deal is one 
of proportional equity, based on the 
amount of money they put into a film. 
Usually there is some sort of credit given 
to Solaris, but credit and the specifics of 
the financing are negotiated individually 
for each project with which they become 
involved. "This isn't a huge money-making 
enterprise," said Gavin. "It's a way for us to 
give back and become involved with 
emerging filmmakers and allow them to 
fulfill their dreams." 

Filmmakers have found that the true 
value of a deal with Solaris lies in taking 
advantage of the guidance and support 
offered through the post process, and the 
open doors their partnership brings with it. 
After agreeing to take on a film, the first 
step for Solaris is to assess the postproduc- 
tion budget. This is usually done by Eitan 
Hakami, the post supervisor on Tumble' 
weeds, who works at Post Production 
Playground, a New York-based one-stop 
post house. After the budget has been 
refined, Solaris' depth of involvement will 
vary, depending on the needs and knowl- 
edge of the filmmakers. On The Specimen, 



Solaris was especially helpful to first-time 
producer Greenhalgh with questions about 
licensing music and clips. Additionally, 
they introduced him to individuals who 
later became his producer's rep and publi- 
cist. For My Generation, much of Solaris' 
focus was on dealing with foreign sales 
entities and with the special screening that 
film had at Sundance last year. However, 
while both O'Connors say they will make 
creative and business suggestions, one of 
the things that makes the company unique 
is the brothers' refusal to dictate a specific 
course of action. While first-time director 
Stephen Earnhart valued the creative 
input he received for re-shoots on Mule 
Skinner Blues, he never felt pressured to 
execute a suggestion if he didn't agree with 
it. 



"This isn't a huge money- 
making enterprise. It's a 
way for us to give back and 
become involved with 
emerging filmmakers and 
allow them to fulfill their 

dreams." — Gavin O'Connor 



There are no budgetary or format 
restrictions for Solaris projects, but the 
majority of films under consideration for 
funding have had budgets below $1 mil- 
lion. Solaris can become involved at any 
stage of postproduction, from rough cut to 
blow-up. The company became involved 
with both Mule Skinner Blues and The 
Specimen after seeing trailers for the films. 
The O'Connors and Fagin say that it's 
important to be able to see something 
visual as opposed to just reading scripts. 
"You don't know what you're going to get 
with a new director," explains Gavin. 
"Coming in at this point allows us to see 
whether or not a new director can take the 
words on the paper and pur something on 
screen that has true vision. We realize it's 
a luxury tor us to conic in after it's shot." 

To approach Solan- Completion Pin- 
ners, contact Josh Fagin at (2\2) $43 
7400. 

Tamara Krinsky is u Los Angeles-based freelance 

actress/wtiter. She currently works for the Film 

Program at the I IS. Comedy Arts Festival. 



January February 2001 THE INDEPENDENT 9 



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BUYING BINGE: 

CineBlast! & Shooting Galley 
Scooped Up 

Who said the high-tech market is tak- 
ing a downturn? Last fall, two New York- 
based film operations, Shooting Gallery 
and cineBLAST!, saw an infusion of 
finance from high-tech media ventures. 

The big news in October was the 80 
percent stake that self-described "world 
class rich media provider" itemus inc. 
(www.itemus.com) announced it was tak- 
ing in production, distribution, postpro- 
duction, and web/interactive company 
Shooting Gallery. The Canadian venture 
capital and solutions company injected 
$56 million into Shooting Gallery as part 
of a share exchange deal. Shooting Gallery 
will spin off its existing film, TV and music 
development, and distribution business to 
its existing stockholders as a new stand 
alone company, — Shooting Gallery Enter- 



"A lot of this has to do with branding," 
says Gill Holland, CEO of cineBLAST! 
"If you work hard enough to create a 
brand like The Shooting Gallery and 
Miramax, you can create a value for 
your company that's intangible." 



tainment. For purposes of the deal, 
Shooting Gallery was valued at $70 million 
and it now becomes one of three wholly 
owned subsidiaries of itemus Inc. in their 
investments portfolio of advanced net- 
working, mobile commerce, and rich 
media solutions. 

"We needed a big-branded presence — a 
leader in the new wave of marketing com- 
munications that involves broadband," 
said Jim Tobin, president and CEO of ite- 
mus, at the joint press conference. 
Shooting Gallery's diversified base 
(Shoting Gallery Productions, East Coast 
Post, Gun for Hire, TSG Pictures) with 
five digital studio operations (Digital 
Media Centers) throughout the U.S. and 
Canada and over 200 employees, has shift- 
I ed from its original production base (Sling 
Blade, You Can Count on Me). The main 
activities and revenue now flow from post- 
production and rich media creation, while 
in distribution the screening series 
launched last year with Loews has proved 




From Tim McCann's upcoming Revolution #S, 
a cineBLAST! production. 

to be a major success, and a third one is 
planned for this spring [see Distributor 
FAQ, p. 44}. 

Gill Holland's cineBLAST! was 
acquired outright in September by NAS- 
DAQ-quoted multimedia company Digital 
Creative Development Corporation (DC2). 
DC2's stock and cash deal has given it 
rights to cineBLAST! 's library of 15 titles, 
which includes features by John Luke 
Montias (Bobby G Can't Swim), Jamie 
Yearkes (Spin the Bottle), Tim McCann 
(Revolution #9), Arthur Flam and Diane 
Doniol-Valcroze (Kill by Inches), and Rich 
Mauro (The Mole), together with 
cineBLAST! 's shorts. 

"A lot of this is to do with branding," 
says Gill Holland, CEO of cineBLAST! "If 
you work hard enough to create a brand 
like The Shooting Gallery and Miramax, 
you can create a value for your company 
that's intangible." Intangible, that is, until 
someone makes you an offer. 

DC2's president and CEO Ralph 
Sorrentino intends to position cine- 
BLAST! in his plans for a new studio oper- 
ation on the east coast. The company 
already has acquired 15 other media com- 
panies ranging from internet content 
providers, broadband technology, and B2B 
creative-services firms to postproduction 
houses, and cineBLAST! will continue to 
develop and produce projects as before. 

Changes at cineBLAST! include the 
hiring of an additional four staff members 
in development, production, and office 
management areas. The company's output 
of an average of six projects a year will 
remain at around that level. The budgets 
will shift, however: "One third will be ultra 
low-budget, but the other two-thirds will 
be a step-up to $2-$5 million budgets," 
says Holland. Although these will primari- 
ly be fiction films, cineBLAST! continues 
to executive produce documentaries, such 
as Tim Kirkman's Decir Jesse and Ryan 
Deussing's upcoming Confederacy Theory. 

Paul Power 
Paul Power is managing editor of The [ndependenl 



We are a facility specializing in 
picture and audio post for projects 

finished on film. We offer full audio 
services; sound design, foley, ADR 

and mixing. Film editing at 24 or 30 
fps on high end digital non linear 

systems and full technical support at 

every stage of your project Please 

contact us for more information. 






January February ■ THE INDEPENDENT 11 



Indie 




The online resource for independent filmmakers. 



Agents 

Buyers 

Classifieds 

Distributors 

Equipment 

Festivals 

Funding 

Grants 

Markets 

Post-production 

Producers 

Schools 

Screening rooms 

more... 



www.indie7.com 



Jim Yee Leaves ITVS 

Jim Yee, executive director of the 
Independent Television Service (ITVS), 
resigned his post last November because of 
serious health problems. Yee was the sec- 
ond head of ITVS, arriving in 1994 to 

replace John 
Schott, hav- 
ing spent 
the prior 10 
years as 

executive 
director and 
co-founder 
of the Nat- 
ional Asian 
American 
Telecomm- 
unications 
Association 
(NAATA). 

Yee was 
among the 
original 
group of 
producers 
who advo- 
cated for 
ITVS's for- 
mation. His 
leadership and aesthetic vision heralded a 
period of unprecedented productivity and 
accolades for the organization, including 
numerous awards. "He's been responsible 
for the best body of social issue documen- 
tary work in American television history," 
claims Jack Willis, programmer of public 
satellite channel Worldlink, where many 
ITVS programs have been aired. "Jim was 
also instrumental in making Worldlink 
happen," notes Willis. "He threw the 
weight of ITVS behind the project, helped 
develop the channel, and has been sup- 
portive of it." 

In 1998, Yee served on the Gore 
Commission on Digital Television and the 
PBS Satellite Interconnection Committee. 
"On the Gore Commission he spoke up 
not only for the public interest but 
addressed content as well," notes David 
Liu, Executive in Charge of Program 
Development at ITVS. 

Yee's many friends and colleagues have 
been effusive in their praise of his business 
sense, his passion for activism and social 
justice, and those character traits — partic- 
ularly his tenaciousness allied with a sense 




of humor — which made him a leader in 
the field. "Among Jim's finer qualities are 
his commitment to social justice and 
equality, tireless energy, political acumen, 
and gift for building consensus," notes 
Stephen Gong, NAATA board member. 
"Jim likes at times, to present a 'take no 
prisoners' approach to management and 
other business processes. This impatience 
is a front because he has such a soft heart 
and great empathy." 

"He relishes a good fight and is someone 
who is always willing to take on really big 
challenges," says Film Arts Foundation 
(FAF) executive director, Gail Silva. "He 
has incredible stubbornness and a very 
wry — and slightly wicked! — sense of 
humor." Janet Cole, who was on the FAF 
board with Yee in the early eighties and 
was coordinating producer at ITVS when 
Yee arrived there, notes how "through 
both his idealism and pragmatism, he has 
always found ways to work both humor 
and an overview of situations into his 
approach to problems and opportunities." 

"He is a man of enormous integrity — 
even when he's involved in the political 
machinations of keeping ITVS alive in the 
halls of Congress," says Lillian Jiminez, 
who worked with Yee when she was chair 
of the National Coalition of Independent 
Public Broadcasting Producers. "He's sort 
of a cross between the Road Runner 
(silent and fast) and the Energizer bunny 
— he keeps going in spite of all the hurdles 
thrown in his path. In many ways, he is so 
much a child of the sixties: self-reflective, 
open and accessible yet distant, compas- 
sionate and tremendously funny — that 
cacophanous laugh reverberating in con- 
fined spaces!" 

Liu has known Yee for over 30 years, 
through all stages of his career. -"Jim is a 
fighter with an instinctual sense of battle 
and vision and fighting for what he 
believes, as if he was born to be a warrior 
in that sort of atmosphere," he notes. 
"He's able to build bridges due to his spir- 
it, integrity, and vision, but also due to the 
fact that he is very intensely personal and 
had a sense of humor that broke the ice at 
the right moment. 

"He's a rare individual who'll be very, 
very hard to replace," concludes Liu. 
"There's a huge sense of loss at not having 
his presence, input, energy, and vitality." 

- Paul Power 



PBS Provides Class for 
American High 

The decision on October 24 by PBS to 
acquire American High, produced by R.J. 
Cutler (The War Room, A Perfect Can- 
didate), has saved the fly-on-the-wall high 
school series from permanent expulsion to 
Fox's vaults. [See story in the October 
Independent. ] 

American High, an innovative series in 
which footage filmed by students is com- 
bined with filmmakers' footage of the 
goings-on at a Chicago high school, was 
produced and owned by 20th Century Fox 
Studios in association with Cutler's Actual 
Reality Pictures. Fox gave the show only 
two weeks in a fiercely competitive prime- 
time summer slot before deciding to drop it 
due to low ratings. The studio did, howev- 
er, allow Actual Reality to conclude shoot- 
ing, which took them up to mid- October. 
(Cutler is keen to make a distinction 
between 20 th Century Fox studios, which 
financed the project, and the Fox broad- 
casting network, which aired it.) 

"Even though Fox broadcasting decided 
not to run the show, the studio stood 
behind it and continued backing it to the 
end," says Cutler. "As supportive as the 
studio was, the network really blew it with 
this show — there were a lot of unfortunate 
decisions made." These included premier- 
ing the series midweek on August 2, 
"which was questionable, especially since 
this series was geared to high school stu- 
dents and their families," notes Cutler. It 
also premiered with only three weeks' 
notice, although Fox's Boston Public, which 
premiered in late October, had been heav- 
ily promoted since mid-July. The final 
straw was American High's direct 
Wednesday night competition — CBS's Big 
Brother. "These factors preordained that 
we weren't able to deliver numbers to stu- 
dio executives," concludes Cutler. Yet the 
series had a not inconsequential five mil- 
lion viewers tor the three aired episodes 
(the season premiere featured two back-to- 
back episodes) and, notably, held its audi- 
ence for each of these half-hour periods. 

Cutler attributes the show's salvation to 
new TBS head Pat Mitchell (see interview 
p. 56], whose "tremendous enthusiasm 
and commitment" paved the way tor an 
unprecedented acquisition K the public 



January/February 2001 THE INDEPENDENT 13 



28th 

Athens 

Film & Video 

Festival 

April 27-May 5 2001 

Erftrres: contact 

iWww.Athensfest.org 

email: 

bradley@ohiou.edu 

740-593-1330 (tel) 

740-597-2560 (fax) 

P.O. Box 388 
Athens, OH 45701 



The Athens International 
Film and Video Festival is a 
project of the College of 
T" 1 Fine Arts at Ohio University. 




American High producer R.J. Cutler 

broadcaster of a primetime series. Terming 
PBS "a producer's dream," Cutler has 
plenty of ideas for the future and is com- 
fortable with PBS's "long view of the 
future." Minneapolis' Twin Cities Public 
TV is American High's presenting station. 

The right to American HigWs concept 
and title remain with Fox, says PBS's John 
Wilson, senior vice president of program- 
ming services, although PBS has the 
option to make more episodes of the series. 
At press time, station executives hadn't yet 
decided whether to schedule it for April or 
the fall. When asked about whether possi- 
ble scheduling conflicts and audience frag- 
mentation would occur if PBS airs the 
series opposite David Zeiger's Senior Year, 
Wilson disagrees: "We see them as very 
complementary and between them we 
have a very strong strand to offer viewers. 
American High creates even more profile 
and stature for this kind of programming." 
Senior Year will be able to "ride the tide" 
that American High generates, he adds. 
"We're absolutely going to use American 
High in prime time. It will get great cover- 
age and we will promote it in a way that 
makes sense to its target audience." That 
target audience is teens — not PBS's tradi- 
tional viewership — and their parents, 
which will give PBS the opportunity to test 
its promotional programs including web 
development and online interaction, out- 
reach to schools, and allowing time for the 



audience to develop and 
build, a vital element 
which Fox's impatience 
didn't allow. 

Episodes that were 22 
minutes long for Fox will 
be retooled to 27 min- 
utes on PBS (an sub- 
stantial extra 70 minutes 
over the run of the 
series). The producers 
need have no worries 
about finding additional 
material: Cutler shot 
2,800 hours for 14 30- 
minute episodes (com- 
pared with 40 hours for 
The War Room and 150 
hours for A Perfect 
Candidate). 

— Paul Power 



Jerome's Dollars 

The Jerome Foundation recently 
announced a change to its funding 
amounts and application specifications. 
After soliciting feedback from the field, 
the Minneapolis-based foundation has 
increased the ceiling for grants to individ- 
ual media artists from $20,000 to $30,000. 
Executive director Robert Byrd stated that 
grant amounts will now range from 
$10,000-$30,000. 

More importantly, the foundation now 
allows applications from productions with 
budgets of up to $200,000. This increase, 
from its previous limit of $75,000, which 
was "unreasonable, even for an emerging 
artist," says Byrd, was made in response to 
feedback from applicants. 

"We're trying to help people get closer 
to seeing their work completed," says Byrd 
of the measures, which are effective imme- 
diately. 

Contact the foundation at: (800) 995- 
3766 or (612) 224-9431; www.jeromefdn.org 

— Paul Power 

Errata 

In the November issue's interview with Skip 

Blumberg and Linda iannacone, it was stated 

that Free Speech TV airs on DirecTV. Rather, 

FSTV airs on DISH Network (Channel 9415). The 

Independent regrets the error. 



14 THE INDEPENDENT January/February 2001 



Requiem for a Rating 



(^U-^-J^JSiJ^j) 




by Eric Watson 

AS INDEPEN- 

« » * * , v dent filmmak- 

^MM^ ers we must 

jfl w sooner or later 

l^^k face the 

I ^& J MPAA and its 

^B system of as- 

signing paren- 
tal guidelines 
to our films. 
Unfortunately, 
the MPAA 
was not creat- 
ed by us or for 
us; rather it 
was created by the eight major studios that 
maintain its annual payroll. Like any paid 
jury, the MPAA must keep those who pay 
the bills happy; otherwise it would not be 
able to sustain itself. With this in mind, it's 
easy to understand how morally bankrupt 
films like 8MM and Scary Movie are able to 
obtain R ratings despite their graphic con- 
tent while films such as Happiness and Kids 
are slapped with NC-17 ratings. The 
MPAA can do this without repercussion 
because major studios are not distributing 
these films and the filmmakers have no 
leverage to change the MPAAs decisions. 
Requiem for a Dream, which I produced, 
is the latest film to suffer from this restric- 
tive ratings system. Adapted from a novel 
by American literary legend Hubert Selby 
Jr., Requiem for a Dream follows four char- 
acters who attempt to fill the emptiness 
they have inside with their various addic- 
tions. The film's climax is an extremely 
harrowing vision of the depths that these 
characters descend to in the battle with 
their addictions. 

The MPAA found the climax to be 
overpowering and gave the film an NC-17 
rating. Artisan Entertainment attempted 
to appeal this judgment and their appeal 
was rejected. As Artisan is not a signato- 
ry of the MPAA they do not have to con- 
form to its ratings guidelines and chose to 
release the film without a rating. Unfor- 
tunately, theater owners took the unprece- 



dented step of demanding that Artisan put 
a warning in its ads stating that they would 
not allow anyone under 17 to see the film 
and hired security guards to enforce these 
measures. 

The ratings controversy and its fallout 
have been very disheartening to me. 
Requiem for a Dream is a cautionary tale 
about the potential dangers of addiction. 
It's unfortunate that the film's powerful 
moral themes cannot reach the young 
adult audience that it could affect the most 
due to the decision of a few paid jurors who 
have no public accountability. Many par- 
ents may not want their children to see 
Requiem for a Dream. I can understand why 
and feel that they have the right to make 
that determination. However, I also believe 
that many parents will want their children 
to see this movie under proper adult guid- 
ance, thereby receiving the film's powerful 
message. It would be unfair to deny parents 
that choice. It is for just such a choice that 
the R rating was intended. 

Ultimately, I have no issue with ratings 
guidelines for parents, as long as they 
remain guidelines and don't carry restric- 
tions. The NC-17 rating takes away a par- 
ent's right to choose what is best for their 
children. If the MPAA were a government 
organization, the NC-17 rating would be 
unconstitutional. 

Jack Valenti, head of the MPAA, has 
effectively argued for 30 years that if the 
motion picture industry does not police 
itself then the government will. FTC chair 
Robert Pitofsky recently commented, "If 
self-regulation doesn't solve the- problem 
and existing laws don't cut it, legislation 
respectful of the First Amendment must 
be considered." This sentiment has strong 
bipartisan support in the Senate, with both 
Democratic Sen. Joseph Lieberman and 
Republican Sen. John McCain threatening 
legislation if the film industry doesn't clean 
up its act. 

The First Amendment clearly protects 
the freedom of speech, and a standard of 
obscenity was defined by the Supreme 
Court in Miller v. California in L973 which 
establishes a three -part test: 



"The basic guidelines for the trier of fact 
must be: 

(a) whether 'the average person, applying 
contemporary community standards' 
would find that the work, taken as a 
whole, appeals to the prurient inter- 
est; 

(b) whether the work depicts or describes, 
in a patently offensive way, sexual 
conduct specifically defined by the 
applicable state law; and 

(c) whether the work, taken as a whole 
lacks serious literary, artistic, political, 
or scientific value." 

Note that part (a) does employ commu- 
nity standards. However, all three parts 
must be met for a work to be deemed 
obscene, and part (c), as the Court has 
held elsewhere, is a national threshold, not 
a community test. 

If this standard were applied to Requiem 
for a Dream there would be no doubt that 
it does not appeal to a prurient interest 
and that it does not lack serious literary, 
artistic, and political value. But ultimate- 
ly this is a judgment best left to the indi- 
vidual, not to me or any other group, leg- 
islative or otherwise. 

It would be arrogant and foolhardy to 
deny that there is overwhelming support 
for effective ratings guidelines in our 
nation; however, when these guidelines 
become blanket enforcement proclama- 
tions like the NC-17 rating, they begin to 
infringe upon an individual's freedom of 
self-determination. This problem is further 
compounded when video-store chains or 
theaters refuse to carry material based 
upon these ratings guidelines. When law- 
makers (Congress), or paid juries 
(MPAA), or exhibitors, or retail chains 
begin to make these choices tor us, they 
erode our basic freedoms. 

It is time for the MPAA to recognize 
that the NC-17 rating is unconstitutional 
due to its restrictive nature and to create a 
standardized set of guidelines that do not 
impose restrictions upon the individual's 
right to choose what is best tor their chil- 
dren. 

Eric Watson is a freelance writer who has con- 

tributed to URB and RES. He co-founded 

Protozoa Pictures with Darren Aronofsky, has 

produced Requiem for .1 Dream and n, and 

was an executive producer on Saturn. 



January/Februan 2001 THE INDEPENDENT 15 



Tag Team 




Movie Magic s Screenwriter 2000 
allows co-writing of scripts on-line. 

by Paul Power 



tionize the often painfully frustrat- 
ing aspect of co-writing. 

Screenwriter 2000 is an immense 
improvement on Movie Magic's 
last offering, Screenwriter. Its addi- 
tional features include the ability 
to import stories from Dramatica 
4.0, and to export to Movie Magic 
Scheduling. It has a handy tagging 
feature which highlights items that 
various departments, such as 
props, costume, camera — even 
security! — need to be aware of. 
Script formatting templates for 
film, TV, stage, and even radio, 
which are now standard to most 
scriptwriting programs, are includ- 
ed here, and Screenwriter 2000 has 
developed some useful shortcuts 
using just the Tab and Return (or 
Enter) keys. 
But Screenwriter 2000's real break- 
through is its collaborative screenwriting 
feature, iPartner. It's such a simple premise 
that it's a wonder nobody thought of it 
before: the software enables creative 
teams to work simultaneously on the same 
script over the Internet. The program, 
which ships in an easy-to-install PC/Mac- 
compatible CD-ROM, was tested on an 
iMac with OS 8.1 and 25 MB (of 64) 
RAM available. Installation of the pro- 
gram on Macs requires OS 7.1 or later, 12 
MB RAM, and 15 MB of hard disk space; 
PCs require Windows 95, 98, 2000, or NT, 
8MB RAM, and 25 MB of hard disk space. 
I tested the program with a colleague in 
New York who was using her Mac at work 
for the purpose. However, her company's 
firewall proved insurmountable, and so 
the test was eventually conducted with 
another writing partner on a Mac at 
home: the program requires that the 
writer/owner of Screenwriter 2000 (let's 
call them writer 1) forward their IP 
address to their collaborator (writer 2). A 



A writer/director once told me that 
he had only two words of advice for any 
aspiring screenwriter: Finish it. That 
sounds easier than it actually is, however, 
and while typing "The End" at the end of 
a first draft is a tremendous achievement, 
it's worth bearing in mind that in reality 
it's only the beginning. 

The real craft of screenwriting is not in 
the writing, but in the rewriting, whether 
that's an additional draft for the producer, 
another draft with your co-writer, or your 
own final "polish" draft as writer/director. 
When two parties are involved, the prac- 
ticalities are cumbersome and many's the 
writer who has fallen foul of faxed drafts 
with penciled-in amendments or emailed 
attachments with new or changed text. 
The problems with both of these options 
are technical ones — illegibility of faxes or 
corruption of files — and quite often the 
only way to straighten things out is 
through lengthy long-distance phone 
calls. That's where Movie Magic's new 
collaborative Internet writing software, 
Screenwriter 2000, seems set to revolu- 



fixed IP address through a Tl, DSL, or 
cable modem allows writer 2 to get in 
touch with writer 1 at any time. However, 
those of us on dial-up modems, where the 
IP address changes each time a new con- 
nection is made, have to either phone 
writer 2 with the IP address, email it, or 
use AOLs Instant Messenger program to 
forward it. 

Once writer 1 makes connection with 
writer 2, a pair of dialogue box windows 
appear stacked one above the other on 
each writer's screen. These allow for mes- 
sages to be sent like Instant Messenger, the 
bottom window for composition of the 
message and the top for the posting of 
writers' back-and-forth correspondence. 
The three levels of script interaction 
between writing partners which follow 
could be termed show (or send) , view, and 
edit. A Send Script button on the dialogue 
box page now allows the script, or relevant 
portion, to be sent. Once transferred, the 
script resides on the drive of writer 2, 
where it can be read and printed. 

A second function, Show Partner, opens 
a window beside the two dialogue boxes, 
allowing writer 2 to view and scroll 
through writer l's script, but doesn't give 
them the opportunity to edit. (And vice 
versa, when writer 2 sends their script via 
the Show Partner mode.) Finally, hitting 
the Show button in the View mode effec- 
tively permits both writers to write on the 
"live" script in real time. 

Watching somebody else's words appear 
in your script on your screen is a curious 
phenomenon. It's like those player pianos 
in old Western ghost towns, and takes a bit 
of getting used to. In our initial enthusiasm 
(and impatience) my co-writer and I found 
ourselves overwriting each other until we 
realized how best to utilize the adjacent 
dialogue boxes to indicate who was going 
to write next, on what page, and what we 
were going to write (brief or long) . Often 
we found that a quick back and forth obvi- 
ated the necessity for a change that one or 
the other of us had in mind. 

After each session ends, both writers 
can agree to pick up on-line next time 
where they left off, or to continue working 
individually before saving the most current 
version of the script. Another plus to the 
program is that you need not have fixed 
writing partners. To get started, all your 
collaborator needs is to exchange their IP 



16 THE INDEPENDENT January/February 2001 



address with yours. 

This is a really nifty piece of software, 
and one that works faster and better with 
high-speed access. So first of all, this is 
something that it's recommended you do 
try at home. As your collaborator needs to 
input an IR if you're going to do this from 
work, you may find a number of hurdles in 
your way preventing access. Moreover, the 
56K dial-up modem I used during this test 
proved to be insufficiently powerful to 
allow another function to operate, the 
Voice Chat feature — where you can talk in 
real time with your collaborator for the 
price of a local call. The manufacturer's 
recommended connection is a high-speed 
one such as an ISDN, DSL, or cable 
modem. Additionally, Voice Chat is not a 
cross-platform feature, operating only 
between two Macs or two PCs and will not 
work between a PC and a Mac. 

Other noteworthy features of Screen- 
writer 2000 include self-reformatting 
index cards and a Text to Speech function, 
which attributes actors' voices to your 
characters, giving you the opportunity to 
hear a read-through without the expense 
of a casting call. Smart Check (dubbed "a 
virtual proofreader") corrects formatting 
errors prior to printing, Note Commander 
has the same effect as placing yellow stick- 
ies on your script, flagging points for revi- 
sion or discussion, and Scene Pilot allows 
you to scroll through an overview of your 
scenes, listed in summary, index card form. 

Finally, one quibble. If you're one of 
those people who likes the way Word 98 
underscores misspellings in red, you'll love 
the same facility in Screenwriter 2000. I 
found it a distraction during writing — the 
sudden appearance of a red mark in a line 
is an unwelcome interruption to a flow of 
thought, and I preferred instead to have 
the function switched on only at final draft 
stage. 

The Movie Magic Screenwriter 2000 
program, which comes on a Mac/PC-com- 
patible CD-ROM, retails for $269, plus 
$9.95 S&H ($50 int'l S&H). An upgrade 
from an earlier version is available for $89, 
as are compatible upgrade programs from 
competitors, such as Hollywood Screen- 
writer (available for PC only), Final Draft, 
Scriptware, etc. at $134.95 each. Contact: 
(800) 84-STORY or visit www.screen- 
play.com 

Paul Power is managing editor 
of The Independent 




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[i]tvs 



Executive Director 

Independent Television Service (ITVS) 

San Francisco, CA 

ITVS seeks an experienced, visionary executive to lead dynamic organization 
bringing independently produced work to public television. Must effectively 
lead staff of 25 and work with the ITVS national board, organizational part- 
ners, Corporation for Public Broadcasting, the Public Broadcasting Service, 
and other constituent organizations and individuals. Qualifications include: 
minimum 10 years experience in organizational management including pro- 
gram development and/or production administration; strong track record in 
advocacy and non-profit management; entrepreneurial approach to new ini- 
tiatives; proven ability in staff supervision, financial management, fundraising, 
policy development and strategic planning; B.A. (advanced degree preferred) 
or equivalent experience. Excellent communication skills are required. 

In addition to a solid commitment to the ITVS mission, ideal candidates will 
demonstrate significant involvement with and support for the independent 
media field; understanding of public television organizations, programming 
policies and governance; commitment to diversity; understanding of the 
needs of under-served audiences; and knowledge of emerging media tech- 
nologies. 

ITVS was established by Congress to fund and present independently pro- 
duced programming on public television. Its mission is to support productions 
that involve creative risks, advance issues and represent points of view not 
usually seen on public or commercial television, and that address the needs 
of underserved audiences, particularly minorities and children. ITVS supports 
producers by affording them artistic control and championing their programs 
to public television and its audiences. Since its inception in 1991. ITVS has 
funded more than 300 programs for public television distribution. 

Competitive executive salary. ITVS is an Equal Opportunity Employer. 

A complete description of responsibilities and qualifications and application 
guidelines are available at www.itvs.o rg. Applications accepted through 
February 15, 2001. 



January/Februan 1001 THE INDEPENDENT 17 



C* 



iiS^J '/-''.• 



CXRCVIT 



en garde 



" Views from 
the Avant Garde" 
at the New York Film Festival. 

by Brian Frye 



Not so very long ago, a 
lot of people considered 
avant-garde film something 
of a dead letter, especially 
in New York. It was diffi- 
cult to make a convincing 
case to the contrary, espe- 
cially after the Collective 
for Living Cinema folded in 
the late eighties, venues 
like Anthology Film 
Archives and Millennium 
Film Workshop looked on 
the verge of doing the 
same, and even the New 
York Film Festival can- 
celled its Avant-Garde 
Visions program. One 
could almost forgive even partisans for 
believing that the avant-garde had given 
up the ghost. 

But the last several years have largely 
dispelled that erstwhile pessimism. Major 
historical retrospectives of avant-garde 
film at the Museum of Modern Art and 
the Whitney, among others, have coincid- 
ed with an explosion of small-scale, DIY 
venues showing new films by younger film- 
makers, with both finding surprisingly 
large and dedicated audiences. In Nov- 
ember, the New York-based Sundance 
Channel even ran programs of Stan 
Brakhage and company on cable TV. 
Although New York never actually ran the 
risk of forfeiting its title as the avant- 
heavyweight, it's looking rather less peak- 
ish than awhile back. 

Indisputably among the catalysts of this 
unexpected revival is the Views from the 
Avant-Garde showcase at the New York 
Film Festival (NYFF), curated by Gavin 
Smith and Mark McElhatten, which has 
reasserted New York's status as the must- 
visit destination for aficionados of avant- 
garde film. 

While the NYFF has shown avant-garde 




Peter Hutton's fascination with landscapes and waterways is apparent in his 
latest film, Time and Tide. 



films since its debut in 1963, the real pre- 
decessor to Views from the Avant-Garde 
was Avant-Garde Visions, started by 
Richard Pena when he took over as pro- 
gram director of the 
NYFF in 1988. Con- 
sisting of three or four 
films chosen by the reg- 
ular festival selection 
committee, the pro- 
gram appeared at Alice 
Tully Hall and was 
included in the pack- 
age of tickets provided 
to subscribers. It offer- 
ed a broadly polyglot 
perspective on the 
avant garde, showcas- 
ing new films by both avowed avant- 
gardists like Brakhage and Warren Sonbert 
and festival- circuit directors arguably 
working in the same idiom like Aleksandr 
Sokhurov, as well as revivals of historically 
important films like Jack Smith's Flaming 
Creatures. For many festival goers, Avant- 
Garde Visions was a first introduction to 
avant-garde film, if not necessarily a wel- 
come one. According to reports, walkouts 



and disruptive audiences were a nagging 
problem, or alternately, a heartening indi- 
cation that the avant garde hadn't entirely 
lost its capacity to epater la bourgeoisie. 

Dwindling audiences and an apparent 
lack of critical interest led to an under- 
standable attenuation of institutional sup- 
port. Events came to a head in 1996, when 
the festival committee simply neglected to 
include an Avant-Garde Visions program. 
Although Gavin Smith programmed sev- 
eral experimental shorts preceding the 
features that might have previously been 
included in Avant-Garde Visions (Lewis 
Klahr's Altair and Robert Beavers's Amor 
among them) , its absence was duly noted. 

According to Smith, however, Richard 
Pena's support for the avant garde had 
hardly waned. He responded very posi- 
tively when Smith and McElhatten 
stepped in with a proposal to restore some 
version of Avant-Garde Visions, and the 
following year it reappeared in its new 
incarnation as Views from the Avant- 
Garde. At Smith's suggestion, in the inter- 
im it had also acquired a new format: four 
programs held in the Walter Reade 
Theater, rather than one in Alice Tully 
Hall, allowing for the inclusion of more 
films in a more suitable context. More sig- 
nificantly, it no longer bore the stamp of 
the selection committee proper, but was 
curated by Gavin Smith, then (and still) a 



This year most of the programs played 

to a full house, with the program that 

included Peter Hutton's Time and Tide and 

Nathaniel Dorsky's Arbor Vitae not only 

selling out, but even running a second time 

to accommodate the overflow audience. 



* ~' <».**'«« »!■..-.:• 



curator of the New York Video Festival 
who had programmed the festival shorts 
the previous year, and Mark McElhatten, 
an independent film curator previously 
unaffiliated with the Film Society of 
Lincoln Center, a fact which changed its 
entire character. For the first time, the 
avant garde had acquired something of a 
mandate and the means by which it might 
be credibly realized. 



18 THE INDEPENDENT January/February 2001 



c 



For its first couple of years, audiences 
for Views of the Avant- Garde were spotty, 
but they have grown steadily. This year 
most of the programs played to a full 
house, with the program that included 
Peter Hutton's Time and Tide and 
Nathaniel Dorsky's Arbor Vitae not only 
selling out, but even running a second 
time to accommodate the overflow audi- 
ence. It was Dorsky's second packed house 
at the Walter Reade in a year (another 
program of his films showed last February), 
a phenomenal response which I found 
heartening. Incidentally, it's no fluke that 
the Dorsky/Hutton show was so popular, as 
it was easily the strongest program in the 
series. In addition, it was a particularly 
good example of Smith and McElhatten's 
perceptive programming, as the two films, 




Sharon Lockhart's Teatro Amazonas-. A mesmeric and 
trying experiment at once. 

individually superb, complemented one 
another perfectly. Hutton's Time arid Tide, 
deeply rooted in the phenomenal world of 
water, sky, earth, and time, was carefully 
balanced against Dorsky's Arbor Vitae, an 
intensely metaphysical meditation on 
Being. 

Shot largely from a barge as it was guid- 
ed up the Hudson River from New York 
City to Albany and back, Time and Tide 
continues Hutton's long-standing fascina- 
tion with landscape and the waterways 
that traverse it. Constructed almost like a 
series of stills, each shot separated from its 
fellows by a short stretch of black leader, 
jITime and Tide moves at a peculiarly delib- 
erate pace, bordering on languor, reflecting 
8the ceaseless flow of the river. Images of 
^decrepit and deteriorating industry yield to 
gmisty, pastoral scenes, the relentless pro- 
gression of one into another suggesting the 
^inevitable dissolution that accompanies 
gthe passage of time. 

§ A filmmaker for over 30 years, Dorsky's 
^austerely beautiful films have recently gar- 
Enered rave reviews from the New York 



Times, making him a seemingly unlikely 
new star of the avant garde. Arbor Vitae, 
the third film in a trilogy that includes 
Triste and Variations, is one of Dorsky's 
greatest films to date, a distillation and 
refinement of themes that in retrospect 
emerge with new clarity and consistency. 
Arbor Vitae, which translates as "Tree of 
Life," is the visual equivalent to a poem 
like the Gnostic "Hymn of the Pearl," 
revealing the extra-mundane spark that 
inhabits the living. Through some mysteri- 
ous legerdemain, he transforms the quo- 
tidian contents of the city and garden into 
pregnant metaphysical symbols. His 
images are juxtaposed so rightly that one 
almost hesitates to call the process editing. 
As Brakhage plumbed the chasm between 
perception and the Real, Dorsky searches 
for the traces of the Ideal in the material 
world. If Hutton captures the flow of time, 
epitomized in the inexorability of mortali- 
ty, Dorsky causes it to catch its breath, 
holding that elusive "now" just long 
enough to make it real. 

Two of this year's films borrowed ele- 
ments from ethnographic film to interest- 
ing effect. Sharon Lockhart's Teatro 
Amazonas documents an audience's reac- 
tion to the offscreen performance of a 
minimalist vocal composition. Set in 
Brazil's eponymously titled opera house, 
the film consists entirely of a single 30- 
minute take of the audience, shot from the 
stage, followed by a rather interminable 
list of "cast" and crew. The audience mem- 
bers, drawn from the local neighborhoods, 
alternately shift in their seats, whisper to 
one another, and sleep. Shot on 35mm, 
Teatro Amazonas is a rather sumptuous 
production by the standards of the avant 
garde. However, while the film cemented 
Lockhart's reputation in the gallery cir- 
cuit — a full-page feature appeared in 
Artforum awhile back — it felt rather like a 
footnote to a Michael Snow's Wavelength 
(or perhaps a lost Monty Python seg- 
ment...), and I found it somewhat under- 
whelming. For 35mm the picture was puz- 
zlingly hazy (possibly a function of the 
non-standard 3-perf format she used), ren- 
dering the faces of the audience members 
basically illegible. I was, however, quite 
taken with the almost-Brownian motion of 
their movements: an oddly graceful collec- 
tive dance, spreading across the sea of 
bodies and subsiding. 



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CALL FOR ENTRIES 

6TH ANNUAL STONY BROOK FILM FESTIVAL 

July 18-28,2001 

Staller Center for the Arts 

State University at Stony Brook, Long Island, NY 



Competitions in 16mm and 35mm films 
including features, shorts, documentary 
and animation. Largest venue (1 ,000+ seats) 
and film screen in the region (40 ft. wide)! 
Over 1 2,000 attendees at the 2000 Festival! 



2000 Stony Brook Film Festival 
Filmaker Reception - July 22, 2000 
- Left to right: Village Voice Critic, 
Michael Atkinson; Newsday Chief 
Film Critic, John Anderson; 
"Steal This Movie" director, 
Robert Greenwald; 
Festival Director, Alan Inkles. 



For more information, call 631-632-7233 

or email festival@stallercenter.com 

Entry forms are available online at 

stallercenter.com/festival 

or write to: 
Stony Brook Film Festival 
Staller Center for the Arts 
rm 2032, SUNY Stony Brook 
Stony Brook, NY 1 1 794-5425 

Entry Deadline: April 1, 2001 







"...In the movie-crazed town of Stony Brook on the campus of the State University of New York, they're taking a 

revolutionary tack: something for everybody. Studio Blockbusters. Independents. Short films, it's visionary. 

It's qroundbreakinq. It's cuttinq-edqe. It's nostalqic. , L a j m j 

» o » a - John Anderson, Newsday 



(i 



'-s J s yui 



i. 



n * f 



Far richer and more compelling was 
Mark LaPore's The Glass System. Shot in 
India, Burma, and New York, The Glass 
System documents the intersection of work 
and life in the public space of the street. 
Composed of very long, static takes of peo- 
ple engaged in their everyday tasks, from a 
man sharpening knives to young girls fold- 
ing pamphlets to a child's rough tightrope 
act, it illuminates the practical immediacy 
of exchange. As people perform their work 
in public, they both humanize their activi- 
ty and announce their trade. I understood 
the title to refer to the transparency of the 
exchange in question: like a picture -win- 
dow in a department store, the goods are 
expected to sell themselves. No need for 
an explanatory legend; here it is, before 
your eyes. 

Apparently, however, the actual prove- 
nance of the title is rather more prosaic. 
According to LaPore, the water in 
Calcutta is teeming with parasites and 
quickly sickens those Westerners careless 
enough to ingest even the least bit of it. 
While dining at a Calcutta restaurant, he 
and his brother-in-law ordered two 
Limcas, the Indian equivalent to 7-Up. 
The waiter served their drinks in freshly- 
washed glasses, certainly contaminated 
with the local fauna. Explaining that they 
would still pay for the first two, LaPore 
asked the waiter to bring two more, in the 
bottle. After pondering this request, the 
waiter replied that he could not, as "we use 
the glass system." 

I was surprised to catch echoes of Joseph 
Cornell's films in The Glass System, espe- 
cially CotiH/on and The Midnight Party. The 
trappings of a mid- 1930s bourgeois 
American childhood, as mythologized by 
Cornell, are eerily reflected in LaPore's 
shyly self-conscious children and fragile 
child mannequins, posed in a store win- 
dow. The disconcerting spectacle of an 
astonishingly young girl performing a 
tightrope act, plodding methodically up 
and back on the rope, further recalled the 
cheerily terrifying circus exploits of 
Cornell's films. Furthermore, while LaPore 
uses much longer takes than Cornell 
(there are only 30 or so shots in this 25 
minute film), he draws relationships 
between images in an oddly similar fash- 
ion, the picture abruptly dropping out to 
black and returning, and apparently cut- 
ting only when absolutely necessary. The j 




From Mark LaPore's The Glass System. 

balance between rawness and polish 
achieved thereby is exquisite, lending The 
Glass System an air of quintessential^ 
Cornellian jewel-like perfection. 

Arguably the highest profile venue for 
avant-garde film in the United States, 
Views from the Avant-Garde is nonethe- 
less distinguished by its unpredictable and 
idiosyncratic lineup. Despite scattered 
protests to the contrary, over the last cou- 
ple of years I have been impressed by the 
breadth of selections, which this year 
ranged from shorts by well-known direc- 
tors like Jean-Luc Godard and Guy 
Maddin through important avant-gardists 
like Michael Snow to newcomers like 
Mary Beth Reed and Robert Abate. To 
their credit, Smith and McElhatten have 
even made a special commitment to show- 
ing super 8 film, despite the difficulty of 
presenting small gauge film in such a large 
space. This year, Stom Sogo represented 
8mm filmmaking with Slow Death, a psy- 
chedelic collage of autobiographical 
images set to the cacophonous roar of a 
club mix, part of which Sogo attributed to 
an unidentified East Village teen. 

It bears notice that Views From the 
Avant-Garde is peculiar among festival 
programs in that it emphasizes entire pro- 
grams rather than individual films. In gen- 
eral, festival programmers choose short 
films individually and cobble them togeth- 
er into programs of appropriate length. In 
the best of circumstances, the result is 
more or less serviceable; often it can 
approach travesty. In marked contrast, 



Smith and McElhatten put uncommon 
care into the construction of coherent pro- 
grams. According to McElhatten, they 
often watch submissions eight or more 
times in various combinations before 
deciding on the constitution of the pro- 
grams. 

While I haven't always been entirely 
convinced by their choices, their attention 
to the often neglected role of the curator 
in shaping the reception of films via their 
context is immediately apparent, as in the 
case of one of this year's briefest films, 
Michael Mideke's two-minute Twig. 
Mideke's 1967 film, only now premiering 
in New York, makes a virtue out of 
extremely limited means, its graphically 
austere black-and-white forms hold and 
slipping past the frame just fast enough to 
resist positive identification. Not only did 
the gradually raised and lowered lights that 
separated each film from the rest help to 
prevent this wonderful little film from get- 
ting lost, but its rawly material images of 
overlapping branch-like forms recalled the 
rapid-fire superimpositions of Slow Death 
while anticipating the muted gray-scale of 
the Quays' In Absentia. 

While this attention to detail is, to my 
mind, essential to the credibility of the 
programs, it has prompted some criticism, 
especially as it tends to emphasize the 
interests of the curators. Unlike their pre- 
decessors, Smith and McElhatten do not 
draw exclusively from formal festival sub- 
missions, but actively solicit films from 
artists, which can all too easily lead to 
accusations of partiality. 

The proof, however, is in the pudding, 
and while the curators' fingerprints are 
very much in evidence, I don't believe that 
their programming is in any way compro- 
mised. Asked to comment on the elusive 
art of film programming, which relies so 
heavily on its not-always-cooperative ele- 
ments, McElhatten replied, "I am wedded 
to imperfection and imperfect arts, but I 
would never want the films to surrender 
and become more malleable to my pro- 
grams. Rather, I attempt to find uncharac- 
teristic ways of looking at or putting films 
in relief that [they] themselves substanti- 
ate and suggest." A curator could hardly 
ask lor a more humble — or demanding 



Brian Inv is a filmmaker, curator, and 
freelance, writer living m blew York City. 



January/February 2001 T H E INDEPENDENT 21 



c 



ED 



fife is for Defiance 

Emile de Antonio: A Reader 

Douglas Kellner and Daniel G. Streible, eds. (Univ. of Minnesota Press, 2000), 

$24.95 paper; 392 pgs. 



by Brian Frye 




NTIL HE SAW 
his FBI file 
for the first 
time, Emile 
de Antonio 
had no recol- 
lection of an 
incident in 
his youth 

when, asked 
what he really wanted to do when he grew 
up, replied, "I think I'd like to he an egg- 
plant." But J. Edgar Hoover's men in 
trenchcoats dutifully recorded this ludi- 
crous non sequitur in the 300-page file of 
a man who later became the only film- 
maker on Dick Nixon's "enemies" list. 
One of de Antonio's favorite anecdotes, 
this little gem states succinctly his rela- 
tionship to the government he loved to 
hate. 

The first full-length hook on de 
Antonio's films, Douglas Kellner and 
Daniel G. Streihle's superb Emile de 
Antonio: A Reader is a long-overdue 
appreciation of one of America's greatest 
independent filmmakers. Probably best 
known today for his seminal first film, 
Point of Order! , a damning indictment of 
Joe McCarthy created entirely from the 
188 hours of kinescope footage of the 
1954 Army-McCarthy hearings, the 
quixotic de Antonio was one of the deans 




of the New American Cinema. 
Gadfly and iconoclast, self- 
described "half-baked" radical 
and bon vivant, de Antonio 
was equally interested in Andy 
Warhol and Ho Chi Minh, the 
kind of Marxist who believes in 
Justice and the Truth, the pur- 
suit of which he considered his 
patriotic duty. 

Prefaced by the editors' 
somewhat dry but exceedingly well- 
informed summary of de Antonio's career, 
the raison d'etre 



to de Antonio's preferred style, the editors' 
collage of short essays and interviews suits 
de Antonio perfectly. The caustic wit of 
his films — his Nixon anti-hagiography 
Millhouse: A White Comedy is a Horatio 
Alger story cast as Groucho Marxist 
sendup — is plenty evident in his sparring 
interviews and sarcastic letters to the edi- 
tor. De Antonio makes his case for a gen- 
uinely political cinema in scathingly 
vicious attacks on the puerility of 
Hollywood filmmaking and its quisling lib- 
eral pieties. A particularly blistering pan of 
Peter Davis's Hearts and Minds (which 
incidentally lifted several sequences from 
de Antonio's own In the Year of the Pig) , 
berating Davis's callowness and inability to 
comprehend the political reality of 
Vietnam, underlines his insistence on film- 
makers taking responsibility for uncover- 
ing the truth that only primary documents 
can provide. 

Not one to pull any punches, de 
Antonio was one of those singular people 
who can draw blood while interviewing 
themselves. Notoriously self-aggrandizing 
and an inveterate tale-spinner, de 
Antonio's accounts of the making of his 
films are generally hilarious, often at his 



Not one to pull any punches, de 
Antonio was one of those singular 
people who can draw blood while 
interviewing themselves. 




of the book is its 
fantastic collec- 
tion of inter- 
views, well- 
selected contem- 
porary film 
reviews by both 
boosters and 
detractors, and short essays 
by de Antonio and his col- 
laborators. 
Perhaps an oblique homage 



Emile de 
Antonio's first 
and best- 
known film, 
Point of 
Order!, an 
indictment of 
Senator Joe 
McCarthy. 



own expense: witness Drunk, made with 
Andy Warhol, in which he drinks a quart 
of scotch in 20 minutes, proceeding to col- 
lapse in a gibbering stupor. 

While the editors' take on de Antonio's 
films and ideas is, I suspect, rather more 
orthodox than he would have preferred, 
they thankfully refrain from the pompous 
rhetoric that blights most recent academic 
film writing and basically let the reviews 
and interviews speak for themselves. It's to 
their advantage, as it showcases their obvi- 
ously exhaustive research (their bibliogra- 
phy is phenomenal) and astute selections. 

Brian Frye is a filmmaker, curator, and freelance 
writer living in New York City. 



22 THE INDEPENDENT January/February 2001 




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y Greg Gi lpatrick 




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After Effects: The Timeline 
Window graphically represents 
the composition's elements and 
effects. 

sive. If you're the kind of 
person who has explored 
every option, effect, and 
preference inside your 
current editing applica- 
tion, then you'll be very 
interested in the products 
here. But if you tend to 
curse your computer, you 
should probably just con- 
sider this a guide to what's 
available at your local post 
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composite, there are applications available 
today that enable you to do this work at 
home. In fact, the emergence of composit- 
ing tools at the relative low- end has creat- 
ed a new job category in the past few years: 
"motion graphics," or graphic designer for 
film and video. 

After Effects (Mac or Windows; standard 
version $649; production bundle version 
$1,499; www.adobe.com/products/afteref- 
fects/) is the industry standard for com- 
positing on PCs. After Effects (commonly 
referred to as "AE") allows you to bring 
together video clips, Adobe Photoshop or 
Illustrator files, and sound clips to create 
multi-layered compositions at almost any 
resolution, from the smallest web-sized 
clip to an Imax film. The settings for each 
element is "keyframable," which means 
you can set the location, size, opacity, and 
other properties of an element at specific 
points in time. For example, you can take 
a logo and place it on the left side of your 
screen at the beginning of your clip, then 
set it at the right side for the end of your 
clip. AE will automatically move your logo 
between the points, moving at the speed of 
your selected duration. 

After Effects is also known for its piug- 



The past few years have seen startling 
growth in both computer and video tech- 
nologies' capacities, along with a substan- 
tial decrease in cost. The most noticeable 
outcome of the new capabilities of smaller 
and cheaper systems is the near ubiquity 
of home editing systems using Final Cut 
Pro, Premiere, or a number of other non- 
linear editing applications. For many inde- 
pendent mediamakers, editing at home on 
a computer is now a forgone conclusion. 

Mediamakers who have been using dig- 
ital nonlinear systems for years may won- 
der what additional tools are now avail- 
able for their desktop set-ups. Not surpris- 
ingly, advanced postproduction tools that 
only a few years ago were an option for 
only high-budget productions are now 
available for use on personal computers. 
This article looks at a sampling of visual 
effects, animation, and compression software 
cunently on the market. Each utility can 
help producers jump to the next level of pro- 
duction values without breaking the bank. 

These programs aren't for everyone; 
they are complicated and can be expen- 



Ocean Comp • Time Layout 




Compositing Software 

Video compositing is the act of layering 
multiple video elements over each other. 
Think of a TV meteorologist in front of a 
weather map: that is a simple video com- 
posite. Compositing applications can place 
hundreds of still and video elements over 
each other to create complex animations 
and effects. While many high-budget pro- 
ductions use high-end workstations to 



ins; these are small programs that alter the 
look of your video. The standard version of 
AE comes with a variety of them, but 
you'll find the most useful ones come with 
the "production bundle," which is sold at a 
premium. (The pro version provides more 
sophisticated tools that simplify complex 
tasks, but unless you know you need it, 
you'll probably be fine with standard.) 
Several smaller companies produce plug- 
ins that you can buy separately that add 
even more functionality. For example, 



24 THE INDEPENDENT January/February 2001 



DigiEffects' Cinelook (Mac/Windows, 
$695, www.digieffects.com) can make your 
video footage appear like it was shot on 
film by changing the color gamma, increas- 
ing contrast, and adding dust or scratches. 
Recently some other programs have added 
the ability to accept third-party AE plug- 
ins, including Final Cut Pro, Commo- 
tion, and Combustion (see below) . 

After Effects is a complex piece of soft- 
ware and can be daunting to learn. How- 
ever, it can make a profound impact on 
what might seem possible for your own 
productions. If you decide to use AE, I rec- 
ommend the book Creating Motion 
Graphics with. After Effects, by Trish and 
Chris Myers (CMP Books, 2000, San 
Francisco) an excellent guide to AE and 
digital video technology as well. 

Combustion (Mac or Windows NT, 
$3,495, www.discreet.com) is a new tool, 
barely released at press time, but it's being 
taken seriously because it is made by 
Discreet, a company that makes high-end 
Oscar-winning compositing systems. 
Combustion borrows the high- end inter- 
face and tools from Discreet's workstation 
programs (Flint, Flame, and Inferno) and 
puts them on the desktop of lower- end sys- 
tems. 

Combustion performs 
a number of tasks that 
normally would need 
several applications to 
do as well. Painting, 
compositing, and color 
correction are its three 
main areas, and it han- 
dles each impressively. 
One unique tool is 
Combustion's ability to 
import Adobe Illust- 
rator files, edit, and ani- 
mate them, similar to 
Flash, the Internet ani- 
mation tool. Most producers will suffer 
from sticker shock when considering 
Combustion, but for those who perform a 
lot of compositing and painting it could be 
a wise investment, especially since its files 
can be transferred to Discreet's high-end 
systems for finishing. 

Final Cut Pro (Mac, $999, www.apple. 
com/finalcutpro) is well known as an edit- 
ing application, but it also allows you to 
composite video and still elements. Final 



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Cut can import Adobe Photoshop docu- 
ments and animate their layers indepen- 
dently. Combustion and AE allow you to 
do this as well, but if you already use Final 
Cut for editing, you can start compositing 
today without having to spend several 
hundred dollars. Final Cut's tools are more 
limited and its interface isn't optimized for 
this type of work in the way a dedicated 
compositor's would be, but it is a good 
place to start before deciding to purchase a 
new program. 

Animation and Rotoscoping 

The ability to use your computer to paint 
on video frames opens up new possibilities 
for adding animations or altering the real- 
ity captured by your camera. "Roto- 
scoping" is the process of using live -action 
video as a guide to painting realistic ani- 
mation. Many of these programs do much 
more than paint, however. As an example, 
Combustion has as many paint tools as it 
does compositing and is a fine high- end 
platform for rotoscoping. 

Commotion (Mac or Windows NT, pro 
version $1,995; DV version $795; 
www.puffindesigns.com) is a tool that does 
two things extremely well: painting and 
advanced matte creation. Commotion was 
originally created by Scott Squires, head of 
Visual Effects at Industrial Light and 
Magic, and was being used on feature pro- 
ductions before it was ever released to the 
public. Squires formed Puffin Designs to 
sell Commotion after realizing that it could 
revolutionize the way people create video 
and film on the desktop. In at least one 
way it did. Commotion uses a technique 
called "Ram Caching" that allows your 
computer to playback video in real-time 
without an expensive RAID hard-drive 
system. Most of the programs in this article 
now implement this, but Commotion 
deserves credit for being the first to bring it 
to personal computers. 

A matte is a part of a video clip that 
defines transparent areas. Mattes are an 
integral part of the compositing process 
because they allow images and video clips 
to be placed together in one composition. 
Commotion excels at matte rotoscoping 
because it allows you define the edges of 
your matte at frames you choose and then 
it interpolates the movement between the 
two frames. I recently used this method on 




The compositing workspace in Combustion. 

a shot where a girl's hearing aid needed to 
be separated from her head while she ran 
in place. I set the edges of my matte 
around the hearing aid with keyframes 
every 10 frames and then made any adjust- 
ments needed in between. The result was 
a video clip that had only the hearing aid 
visible. Commotion recently added a com- 
positing system similar to AE's. 

Commotion's painting tools are similar 
to the ones found in Adobe Photoshop. 
The program allows painting with stan- 
dard colors, a clone brush that copies 
other parts of your frame, or "FX Brushes" 
that let you use textures as diverse as oil 
paint or laser blasts. The clone brush could 
be used to cover up unwanted elements in 
a frame like a mic cable or lens flare. 
Commotion includes an intuitive way to 
record your paint strokes so they can be 
painted out over the duration of your 
video or recorded in whole over every 
frame. Using the first method, you could 
write out a word, then have it look like 
someone is writing it over your clip as it's 
playing. 

Traditional cell-based animators should 
also consider Commotion. One of its fea- 
tures, called "Cartoon Fill," allows you to 
take a series of inked drawings and define 
what colors to paint each area with. This 
allows you keep your work hand- drawn, 
but cuts down on the time and money 
spent on painting by hand. 

Like After Effects, Commotion comes in 
two versions — expensive and less expen- 
sive. The less expensive version, Commo- 
tion DV, comes with all the features dis- 



cussed above but lim- 
its your work's size to 
Dl video. If you are 
working with a Dl or 
smaller format (DV, 
Betacam, 3/4") you 
should consider 

Commotion DV. 
Final Cut Pro owners 
can receive a limited 
version of Com- 
motion DV for free. 
For larger format 
work (HD, film), 
there is Commotion 
Pro, which allows any 
size up to Imax film 
and includes extra 
tools and plug-ins. As 
with After Effects, 

you pay a premium for the more advanced 

version. 

RotoDV (Mac, $399, www.digitalorigin. 
com) is a relative newcomer from the 
makers of the popular editing program 
EditDV and has a lot in common with 
Commotion. It offers similar painting tools 
and utilizes the same RAM-caching tech- 
nique for real-time playback of your video 
clips. However, RotoDV has an unimpres- 
sive history — it hasn't been used in any 
well-known movies, doesn't have testimo- 
nials on its web site from major effects 
houses, and hasn't had a major upgrade 
since it was first released about a year ago. 
The one major advantage to RotoDV is 
that it is several hundred dollars cheaper 
than any other animation programs. If all 
you want to do is touch up your video, add 
some modest effects, or rotoscope anima- 
tion, RotoDV can accomplish all these 
tasks at a price 




Res 



26 THE INDEPENDENT January/February 2001 



RotoDV: One of the cheapest 
and most basic animation program. 



lower than any of the other applications in 
this article. Like Commotion DV, RotoDV 
cannot work on video larger than Dl. 

Internet Video Compression 

For those who want to show their work 
over the Internet, one application is near- 
ly indispensable: Media Cleaner Pro (Mac 
or Windows, $599, www.terran.com) takes 
video and audio and creates compressed 
clips in QuickTime, Windows Media, Real 
Player, and MP3 formats. Preparing media 
for Internet distribution uses a process 
called compression that makes the file as 



on a few questions it asks you about your 
media. Media Cleaner EZ is a simpler ver- 
sion that incorporates just the wizard por- 
tion of the program. The EZ version is 
included with several video applications 
for free, including Final Cut Pro and 
EditDV. 

Shareware 

The computer world is one of the few 
places where many authors feel inclined to 
give their products away for free. While I 
only list one product here, there is a vast 
amount of shareware out there. You can 



Project DV Capture 




Media Cleaner 
Pro: Takes video 
and audio and 
creates com- 
pressed clips for 
broadcast over 
the Internet. 



small as possi- 
ble. Although 
simple sound- 
ing, good com- 
pression is an art that is equal parts aes- 
thetics and technical ability. A compressed 
video clip needs to be as small a file as pos- 
sible while retaining enough quality to sat- 
isfy its audience. Media Cleaner Pro pro- 
vides an interface with enough sliders, 
check boxes, and menus to confound the 
most seasoned digital video editor, but 
each has a purpose in creating the best 
looking and fastest loading video for the 
Internet. 

For those not accustomed to the termi- 
nology of Internet video delivery, Media 
Cleaner Pro has a more user-friendly inter- 
face with "wizard" settings that quickly 
sets your compression preferences based 



find effects and plug-ins or even video 
editing applications for very little or free. 
Check out Cnet's www.shareware.com as a 
starting point in search for shareware. 

Test Pattern Maker (Mac, free, www.syn- 
thetic-ap.com) generates stills to use in 
your videos for a multitude of purposes. 
The program generates handy images like 
color bars for your tapes or convergence 
and overscan tests for your video monitor. 
This is a useful utility and is free from the 
developer at their web site. 

Greg Gilpatrick is a New York-based video/film- 
maker and technology consultant. He can be 
reached at greg@randomroom.com. 



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janu.uv Ivbru.MA 2001 THE INDEPENDENT 27 






Guilding Bridges 

How the guilds interact with interactive producers. 

by Robert L. Seigel 



If you're a producer making interac- 
tive or multimedia projects, you may 
decide to hire union actors, writers, or 
directors. If so, you'll find yourself on 
familiar turf when it comes to negotiating 
with the professional guilds. All are trying 
to stay up-to-date with new media, and 
each has developed agreements specifical- 
ly for interactive and multimedia projects. 
But whether making an esoteric web site, a 
commercial videogame, or a CD-ROM, 
you will be seeing language that echoes 
existing agreements with the Screen 
Actors Guild (SAG), the Writers Guild of 
America (WGA), and the Directors Guild 
of America (DGA). 

SAG's Interactive Media 
Agreement 

SAG (www.sag.org) has developed some- 
thing called the Interactive Media 
Agreement (IMA). This covers audio- 
visual projects produced for CD-ROM or 
the Internet that use SAG performers. 
The IMA concerns interactive projects in 
which a producer engages such SAG- cov- 
ered performers in the U.S. (even if pro- 
duced outside the U.S, its common- 
wealths, and possessions). However, not 
all CD-ROM or Internet projects are sub- 
ject to the IMA. Projects that were initial- 
ly produced as commercials, theatrical 
films, television programs, or industrials 
and have subsequently been placed on a 
CD-ROM or the Internet are subject to 
other SAG agreements. 

The IMA deals specifically with the 
projects that were designed first and fore- 
most to have an element of "interactivity," 
in which a viewer can "manipulate, alter, 
or affect the presentation of the creative 
content" while the viewer is using the 
media project. Non-interactive media 
projects are generally considered "linear" 
in nature and do not involve any degree of 
viewer activity beyond watching the pro- 
ject, even if it is on a computer screen. 



Several core provisions of the DGA 

Basic Agreement are in the Internet 

Agreement: on creative rights, 

pension and health contributions, 

grievances and arbitration, credits, 

and staffing requirements. 



Other types of work that does not fall 
under the IMA include those which con- 
tain solely "concert-like" footage, use only 
still photographs (with or without narra- 
tion), or are tape productions in which 
more than one -half consists of material 
produced under an American Federation of 
Television and Radio Artists (AFTRA) 
agreement or 
news, game 

shows, quiz panel- 
type shows, or 
talk shows. 

A producer 
can contact SAG 
and become a sig- 
natory of the 
IMA by signing 
an Adherence 
Letter. This ac- 
knowledges that the producer shall comply 
with the IMAs terms, contribute to the 
SAG Pension & Health Fund, and sign a 
Credit Check Authorization. Producers 
also must complete an information sheet 
describing the project in detail and a 
Corporate Resolution acknowledging who 
is authorized to sign on behalf of the pro- 
ducer. This "paperwork" is a more stream- 
lined version of the documentation that 
SAG requires for a feature film or televi- 
sion program. An IMA signatory producer 
must ensure that all SAG performers are 
members in good standing and that per- 
formers who are not covered by SAG are 
accepted by SAG through a waiver or a 
completion of a "Taft-Hartley" form, 
which causes non-SAG covered perform- 
ers to be eligible to join SAG. 

Although these terms seem reasonable 
to most film and television producers, the 
IMAs basic minimum payments may prove 
problematic for those independents creat- 
ing what are often labor-intensive and 
undercapitalized Internet or interactive 
projects. Like SAG's Basic Television 
Agreement, the IMA requires that on- 



camera SAG-covered performers must be 
paid $540 per eight-hour day and $1,876 
per 40-hour week. There is a provision for 
"three-day performers" who are paid at a 
rate of $1,367. There is an exception for 
voiceover performers, who must be paid 
$540 per day for a maximum of three voic- 
es per four-hour day and an additional 
charge of $180 for each additional voice. 

Under the IMA mediamakers cannot 
"mix and match" SAG and non-SAG per- 
formers; in fact, similar to most SAG 
agreements, there is a provision in which 
SAG-covered performers must be given 
employment preference if the project is 
produced in or near most major U.S. cities. 
IMA signatory producers currently do 
not have to pay residuals to the SAG per- 
formers; however, 
if a producer 
decides to place 
an Internet pro- 
ject on a CD- 
ROM or vice 
versa, the pro- 
ducer must pay 
the SAG per- 
former his or her 
rate (up to 150% 
of scale). Any 
other use of such projects which is not 
addressed by the IMA must be separately 
negotiated with SAG. 

Given the limited revenues for most 
Internet projects, it would be advisable for 
SAG to revise its IMA in a manner that 
addresses low-budget interactive projects. 
This could be done by adopting a variation 
of its currently existing agreements tai- 
lored to low-budget productions, such as 
those for experimental, limited exhibition, 
and low-budget projects. 

The WGA's Internet Agreement 

New media producers who hire members 
of the WGA (www.wga.org) for Internet 
projects can become signatories to the 
WGA Internet Agreement. Under this 
agreement, initial compensation for WGA 
members is negotiable between the produc- 
er and the writer; however, the producer 
must pay the appropriate Pension & 
Health contributions to the WGA. 
Producers also must provide wTitten finan- 
cial reports regarding any Internet revenue 
to both the WGA and WGA member. 
These financial reports include any rev- 



28 THE INDEPENDENT January/February 2001 



enues derived from the exploitation of the 
project on the Internet by the producer or 
the producer's distributor/Internet pro- 
vider, including fees charged to Internet 
users, advertising revenues, and the num- 
ber of "hits" for the project or the web site 
incorporating it. 

Under the WGA Interactive Agree- 
ment, a signatory producer is permitted to 
use literary material written under the 
agreement for a period of up to 18 months. 
After that, the producer must comply with 
any Internet provision included in any 
subsequently revised Minimum Basic 
Agreement. If there is no new Internet 
provision, the parties would have to nego- 
tiate a residual payment for additional use 
of the material. If the material written 
under the agreement is not used by a pro- 
ducer within two years from the signing of 
the agreement, then the rights to that 
material revert to the writer. 

The WGA Interactive Agreement only 
addresses the use of the literary material in 
Internet projects. WGA writers retain the 
right to produce the material in other 
media (other than TV, since the WGA 
regards the Internet as a form of television- 
and includes provisions in its interactive 
contract about compensation for TV 
sales). Producers can acquire other non- 
interactive rights to the material by negoti- 
ating with the writer and paying the writer 
no less than the minimum rates under the 
WGA Minimum Basic Agreement. 

More and more mediamakers are using 
the Internet to develop projects that could 
later be used in more conventional "off- 
line" media, such as a television pilot or 
series. Producers taking this path should 
realize that a WGA writer would then be 
entitled to receive no less than the mini- 
mum rate, as if the writer has written the 
material initially for television. WGA writ- 
ers also are entitled to receive residuals if 
the interactive project is released in such 
"traditional" media as free television, pay 
television, and home video. 

The DGA's Internet Agreement 

The DGA (www.dga.org) has also devel- 
oped an Internet Agreement. Similar to 
the DGA's Low-Budget Agreement for 
films, the DGA's Internet Agreement per- 
mits a producer and DGA director to 
negotiate several key points concerning a 
director's participation in an Internet pro- 



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ject. These 
include the 
initial com- 



IMA's basic minimum 
payments may prove 

problematic for 

independents creating 

labor-intensive and 

undercapitalized 

Internet or interactive 

projects. 



pensation to 
the director. 
Several core 
provisions of 
the DGA 
Basic Agree- 
ment are in- 
cluded in the 
Internet Agreement; these address such 
issues as creative rights, pension and 
health contributions, grievances and arbi- 
tration, credits, and staffing requirements. 
DGA signatory producers must realize that 
engaging the services of a DGA director 
also means they'll be required to hire other 
DGA-represented members, such as assis- 
tant directors and production managers. 

A producer does not have to pay residu- 
als under the DGA Internet Agreement 
for the use of an audiovisual project specif- 
ically produced for free websites. However, 
if project that was initially designed for the 
web should be adapted to "off-line" mar- 
kets such as theatrical, television, and 
home video, then a deal memo between 
the producer and the DGA director is 
required. This would contain provisions 
for residual compensation for "off-line" 
uses which comply with the terms of the 
DGA Basic Agreement. Similarly, DGA 
directors shall be entitled to receive resid- 
uals for projects that appear on revenue- 
generating web sites; the amounts would 
be negotiated by the DGA and producer 
prior to any licensing of an Internet project 
beyond its free web site use. 

The DGA Internet Agreement — like 
the WGA's version of the Internet Agree- 
ment — has a provision that requires pro- 
ducers to provide reports indicating all 
revenues (including advertising) derived 
from a project's exploitation on the 
Internet by the producer, the project's 
third party Internet licensee, or the 
Internet provider. 

Although these agreements are embry- 
onic and experimental in nature, they serve 
as a bridge between producers and the 
unions as all concerned attempt to navigate 
the uncharted obstacles in cyberspace. 

Robert L. Seigel (Rlsentlaw@aol.com) is a NYC 

entertainment attorney and a partner in the 

Daniel, Seigel & Bimbler, LLP law firm which 

specializes in the representation of clients in the 

entertainment and media areas. 



30 THE INDEPENDENT January/February 2001 



by Jim Colvill 

In today's independent film market there's 
no time for slow builds. wlth this in mind 
"On View" offers shameless plugs for cur- 
rent RELEASES AND NATIONAL BROADCASTS OF 
INDEPENDENT FILMS AND VIDEOS IN THE HOPE 
THAT YOU'LL SUPPORT THEM. WHO KNOWS — 
MAYBE THEY'LL DO THE SAME FOR YOU SOMEDAY. 

THEATRICAL 

Signs and Wonders (January, Strand 
Releasing) Jonathan Nossiter's digital fol- 
low up to the award-winning Sunday 
explores ideas of dislocation, both 
metaphorical and geographical. The film, 
set in Athens, is about a married man's 
adulterous relationship with one of his co- 
workers and the implications it has on his 
family and feelings. The husband is an 
American by adoption drawn to the U.S., 
and his wife an American of Greek origin 

drawn to 

Europe. The 
relationship 
between 
Americans 
and Europe- 
ans is an issue 
that concerns 
both the dir- 
ector and co- 
writer, James Lasdun. Lasdun was born in 
London but currently resides in the U.S. 
and Nossiter is an American who was 
bought up in Europe. Features Stellan 
Skargard, Charlotte Rampling, and 
Deborah Kara Unger, with a soundtrack 
composed by Portishead's Adrian Utley. 

Series 7 (January, USA Films) Writer/ 
director Daniel Minahan's caustic satire 
comments on the ever-growing popularity 
of reality-based TV through its depiction 
of a fictional show. The Contenders is the 
highest-rated TV show in America based 
on the simple premise of six contenders 
plucked from normal life who must try to 
kill each other. Each contestant is provid- 
ed with a gun and tailed by a cameraman 
until they are dead, or, alternatively, the 
final survivor. The film's protagonist, 
Dawn, is an 8-months-pregnant reigning 
champion with only one round left before 
she wins her freedom from the show. 
Perhaps unsurprisingly, Minahan got the 
idea for the film when he was working as a 
producer in tabloid television. 




Stellan Skargard (I) in Jonathan 
Nossiter's latest, Signs and Wonders 



Two Ninas (January 26, Castle 
Hill Productions) A twenty-some- 
thing New York writer Marty 
(Swingers' Ron Livingston), whose 
career and love life are leading 
nowhere, is rejuvenated when he 
meets two girls called Nina (Cara 
Buono and Amanda Peet) . One is a 
smart and witty brunette with whom 
he has much in common and the 
other a sexy blonde who sweeps him 
off his feet. Indecisive, he decides to 
date both at once, leading to 
inevitable problems. Two Ninas is 
writer/director Neil Turitz's film debut and 
winner of the 1999 Gen Art Film Festival. 

Dog Run (January 19, Arrow Entertain- 
ment) D. Ze'ev Gilad's harsh depiction of 
teenage drug use and poverty from the 
executive producers of Kids. Eddie and 
Miles, two teenage runaways flee from 
New Orleans to New York for a drug deal 
that promises wealth and a place to live. 
The deal falls through and instead they 
find themselves penniless on the Lower 
East Side where kids are drawn into a 
world of sex, drugs and survival. The film- 
makers say they wanted the film to have a 
documentary feel, something achieved by 
the fact that virtually all the cast, aside 
from the two leads, are actual street kids 
who participated in exchange for food. 
The film won an award at the Toronto 
Film Festival. 

The Gift (January 19, Paramount 
Classics). Director Sam Raimi returns to 
familiar territory with this Southern 
thriller — the story of Annie Wilson (Cate 
Blanchett), a recently widowed mother of 
three with the gift of psychic vision. When 
a young woman's body is found, Annie 
comes under suspicion and finds her "gift" 
is her only hope to save herself, and her 
family. Also stars Keanu Reeves, Katie 
Holmes, Greg Kinnear, and Hilary Swank; 
and is co-written by Billy Bob Thornton 
and Tom Epperson, who previously wrote 
One False Move together. 

TELEVISION 

From Swastika to Jim Crow (February, 

PBS) Filmmakers Steven Fischler and Joe 
Sucher's new documentary tells the previ- 
ously untold story of the many German 
Jewish professors who, expelled from then 
homeland by the Nazis, found new lives 
and careers at all-Black colleges and uni- 




From Swastika to Jim Crow explores the little-known history of 
Jewish academics expelled by the Nazis who find work in Black 
colleges. 



versities in the South. After experiencing 
hostility from many American universities, 
it was only the historically all-Black col- 
leges that welcomed them. Through inter- 
views with many of the surviving profes- 
sors as well as their former students the 
film depicts the unique relationship they 
formed. Although from different parts of 
the world, they shared the experience of 
being persecuted due to their race. 

Ralph Bunche: An American Odyssey 
(February, PBS) A quarter century after 
his death this new feature-length docu- 
mentary is the first comprehensive exami- 
nation oi the life and times of Ralph 
Bunche in either print or electronic media. 
Bunche was the first African American to 
win the Nobel Peace Prize, an honor 
bestowed upon him in 1950 in recognition 
of his successful mediation oi the 
Armistice Agreements between the Arab 
nations and Israel. He spent two decades 
as Undersecretary General of the United 
Nations and was celebrated worldwide for 
his contributions to peacekeeping and civil 
rights. The film is written and directed by 
Emmy award-winning independent film- 
maker William Greaves. 

Jazz (Begins January 8, PBS) This new 
10-part, nearly 19-hour documentary from 
acclaimed filmmaker Ken Burns celebrates 
jazz music from its origins in blues and rag- 
time through swing, bebop and fusion. By 
providing such a meticulous examination 
of the history of jazz, America's collective 
history over the last century is inadver- 
tently depicted. Miles Davis, Duke Elli- 
ngton, Charlie Parker, Benny Goodman, 
Billie Holliday, and many other major fig 
ures in jazz arc discussed. An entire 
ep^ode is devoted to Louis Armstrong's 
genius, but it > a pity that only the final 
hour is devoted to the period from I960 to 
the present day. 



January/February 2001 THE INDEPENDENT 31 




E* 



Zhang Ziyi (I) and Michelle Yeoh 
face off in Ang Lee's Crouching 
Tiger, Hidden Dragon. 




I UST TRY GETTING GOOD MACHINE'S PARTNERS IN A 
room at the same time, let alone getting them to sit 



down, speak coherently, and not all at once. Just try 

getting them to remember what official capacity the 

company had on their dozens of movies over the past 10 

years, or even in what order the films were made, or when and 

how they met. Time floats away. Details get jumbled. The 

phone rings, and rings again. 

The only certain fact is that even though they met long 
before and had worked together, Ted Hope and James Schamus 
incorporated Good Machine as a film production company in 
December 1990. They remember that because they should 
have waited to go official until after the first of year, thus avoid- 
ing expensive corporate taxes due for 1990. 

"That was one of the biggest mistakes we made," Hope notes 
wryly. 

A decade later, the company is afloat nevertheless and on a 
roll. And it's no little twist of fate that has the company's future 
hinging on the same equation that got it off the ground in the 
first place: Hope producing plus Schamus writing plus Ang Lee 
directing. 

Good Machine has worked with other directors, of course, 



many of them first-timers and then repeat customers. Some of 
them have even had as good a run as Lee, like Todd Solondz, 
Hal Hartley, Nicole Holofcener, and Ed Burns. But from almost 
the very beginning, Good' Machine has been about more than 
just the filmmaking passions of Hope, the NYU film school grad 
with a penchant for guerilla productions, and Schamus, the 
Columbia film professor and screenwriter who is known as a 
Class A talker. It has also been about Lee, who has been with 
them all along and prompted the company to grow at key 
moments. "We grew up together," Lee says. 

It was Lee who came to the company in their second month 
of operation with a $350,000 grant from the Taiwanese govern- 
ment for a strange little film called Pushing Hands and nobody 
to help him make it. Now Good Machine is putting its hopes on 
another strange little movie from Lee, this one a $10.3 million 
Chinese-language myth called Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon 
that could turn out to be the company's biggest financial and 
critical success. 

"We've had to keep up with Ang. And that's not just artisti- 
cally," says Schamus. "But also on the business side, making sure 
that the context in which Ang makes his movies is the appro- 
priate one from a business standpoint and from a philosophical 



32 THE INDEPENDENT January/February 2001 



one. It's funny, one of the things I'd say is a measure of where 
the company has gone is that we've been able to accommodate 
the increasingly complex demands of a director like Ang as he 
gets better and better and better." 

Sound too self-effacing? This is what Hope and Schamus 
signed up for. They teamed up so they could make movies, not 
build an empire, and they have run their business accordingly. 
"The initial idea was to make as many quality films as we 
could," says Hope. "And it was through the service work — the 
actual production work — that people realized we were into 
movies and scripts," adds Schamus. "With Ang and others after 
that, we started moving into development and packaging and 
shaping films from beginning to end." 

And if they were faced with the choice of becoming rulers of 
a vast conglomerate, but no longer having time to write or hash 
out the daily details of a movie, they'd walk away. Also, if faced 
with the prospect of selling to a larger entity — something they 
are offered often enough that they have to have a 
lawyer on retainer to field offers (the latest sales 
rumors being about Intermedia) — they'd be hard- 
pressed to work for hire. 

"We're at this weird threshold — where we probably 
want to stay for the rest of our lives, by the way- 
where capitalism forces you to jump into the next big- 
ger hoop where you either drown or manage to claw 
your way up. Or you shrink and die because the scale 
at which you have to work is too big," says Schamus. 
"What we've tried to do is make sure that the scale of 
each film we work on remains appropriate to what its 
commercial expectations are so we can maintain an 
infrastructure that's capable of dealing with those small, 
made films." 

As if to prove the point about their motives, it's impossible to 
get Hope, now 38, and Schamus, 41, to talk about the past 10 
years in any chronological sense. They don't mark time by years 
or even by the usual industry rhythms of film festivals and 
awards shows, plotting their time between Sundance, the 
Academy Awards, Cannes, and Berlin. Hope and Schamus 
think in terms of the movies, and only the movies. 

For those who are counting, Good Machine's first offi- 
cial production was a 45-minute short by Claire Denis called 
Keep It for Yourself. At that point, basically all Good Machine 
had was a name (from the espresso machine in British director 

Jon Amiel's Queen of Hearts "It's all about the caffeine," 

Schamus tries to explain). They had no address, no staff, no 
salary, no reputation. Well, no reputation as a company. Hope 
was making a name for himself working as a producer for Hal 
Hartley, and Schamus was climbing up the ladder with produc- 
er Christine Vachon. For the first few months, they worked out 
of the production offices of whatever project they were doing at 
the moment. Then they had one very good day, one of those 
apocryphal tales that whether true or not captures the spirit of 
the times. 

"The Gulf War going on, I was putting all of my energy in the 
company because my girlfriend left me," says Hope of an early 
day at the end of January in 1991. "We just wrapped Keep It for 
Yourself. James went to Sundance because [Todd Haynes'] 



Poison and [Hal Hartley's] Trust were playing. I wasn't even cog- 
nizant of what Sundance was at the time. But that day, Poison 
won the grand prize and Trust won the screenplay award. While 
I sitting there finalizing our first cost report, and I heard this 
noise behind me. A man was standing there. He said, 'I'm Ang 
Lee, and if I don't make a film soon I will die.' I still had a bro- 
ken heart, but I felt like a man on top of the world." 

"The story gets more legendary as time goes by," Lee says, as 
quietly as always. "I didn't have two scripts under my arm. But 
I had gone six years without a job. I had a little money to make 
a film and I needed a line producer." 

Hope had actually been trying to meet Lee for years, ever 
since he was in film school and saw Lee's student film. He had 
tried to reach Lee's agents, but had been rebuffed. Hope says 
when Lee walked in the door with the scripts for Pushing Hands 
and The Wedding Banquet under his arms, all he could do was 
say, "Ang, I've been trying to meet you for ten years," and then 




down and talk to him 
about getting to work. 
They shot Pushing Hands 
first and made it simultaneously with a Swiss film by Dani Levy, 
I Was on Mars. At first neither film went anywhere commercial- 
ly. Pushing Hands played at the Berlin Film Festival that summer 
and was well-received in Taiwan (mostly because Lee actually 
made the film and didn't just walk away with the government 
cash like others, says Schamus), but it wasn't released in the 
U.S. until after Lee's next film was a hit. 

The Wedding Banquet kicked into pre-production as soon 
as Pushing Hands wrapped. The second of Lee's trilogy about 
fathers coping with the modern world that concluded with Eat 
Drink Man Woman, it didn't look like it was going anywhere at 
first either. Without even getting to see the print, Hope and 
Schamus packed it off to Berlin. The distributors who saw if 
there called to say thanks but no thanks. "They said that it was 
absolutely uncommercial. It's a gay, Chinese-language green- 
card comedy of marriage and remarriage. What were we think- 
ing?" Hope says. 

This is just the start of another apocryphal tale. Good 
Machine, which had grown to have two employees by then and 
was housed in a skanky office on West 25th St., was in danger 
of going under. Hope says, "We only had $2,000 lett in bank 
account. We said, well, fuck it, we'll spend the $2,000 to fly our- 
selves and Ang to Berlin. When we got there we got a phone 
call that the press screening had jusl ended and the whole audi 
ence had stood up on their chairs and gave a standing ovation 



ian 1 ebruary 2001 THE INDEPENDENT 33 



for five minutes." 

The Wedding Banquet went on to win the Golden Bear, do $3 
million in initial sales, and get nominated for an Academy 
Award for best foreign film. All that, Hope points out, for a film 
that cost well under $1 million. 

The Wedding Banquet did more than just fill Good Machine's 
coffers with enough money to run the company for a year. It 
also set them up with a business model that would sustain them 
for the next five or six years and get them to the next level of 
growth. The key was selling their own films, at least interna- 
tionally. But that meant taking on more employees. At that 
point, Good Machine had Mary Jane Skalski, who was the 
office manager (and former AIVF membership director), and 




Good Machine got a taste of studio politics with 
its Civil War epic, Ride with the Devil. 



Anthony Bregman, an enthusiastic intern. In the next few 
years, the staff would grow to a dozen — even as the infrastruc- 
ture stalled. 

"We had six phone lines, they'd all light up when somebody 
was using them. The problem was, of course, that there were 
more people than there were phone lines," Schamus says, thor- 
oughly enjoying a story about the poor days. "Whenever you 
finished a phone call, you'd have to hang up really fast and then 
pick up again, because somebody would be waiting for the light 
to go off. When you did that, you'd hear somebody out in the 
other office screaming, like 'Oh fuck.' " 

"Because the goal was never to be rich, they kept the over- 
head so low for so long," says Skalski. She adds, "Even today, 
nobody cavalierly sends out a FedEx. One thing that nobody 
realizes is that James and Ted had good timing and a lot of luck, 
but they also made huge sacrifices. They put everything back in 
the company when they could walk away and do their own 
stuff, make money, and not have to deal with this company and 
manage the work of other people." 

Skalski is still around Good Machine, even though she is 
now just using an office to run her own production company. 
Bregman is currently Good Machine's vice president of pro- 
duction. Another employee who came on after Good Machine 
got some extra cash from a first-look deal with Fox Searchlight 
in 1996, Anne Carey, is senior vice president of development. 



By the mid-'90s, Good Machine was in the midst of what 
might be called its Sundance era. Nearly every film they pro- 
duced with a first-time filmmaker ended up at the festival and 
usually ended up doing well. Tom Noonan's What Happened 
Was... won the grand prize in 1994, Ed Burns' Brothers 
McMullen won in 1995. Then the company had a string of solid 
base hits with Nicole Holofcener's Walking and Talking, Bart 
Freundlich's The Myth of Fingerprints, and 1999's The Tao of 
Steve, which won a special jury prize for acting. Even more than 
Lee's films, these established Good Machine's taste in the mar- 
ketplace. Hope and Schamus go for understatement rather than 
brio, wittiness over violence, and quiet family drama over dys- 
function on a grand scale. 

Except, that is, for Todd Solondz's Happiness, which 
was full of brio and dysfunction and a little violence, too, 
in the form of pedophilia. 

Christine Vachon is Solondz's primary producer, but 
Solondz says he originally got Hope on board because he 
liked him, and then he liked what Good Machine was 
able to do because of its reputation. It's just a little exam- 
ple of how Good Machine works whatever little piece of 
a production that fits with its skills. Vachon is a big fan 
of Ted Hope's, but says she isn't as happy dealing with 
Good Machine as a corporate entity. She has kept her 
own Killer Films a small producer-driven company so it 
could stay flexible and stay alive. "Producing itself is a 
difficult way to make a living," Vachon says. "But unless 
it's all you do, you do less of it." 

Hope says he finds it interesting how his business 
differs from Vachon's and from the venture of 
another guy he started out with in the small world of New York 
independent film. Larry Meistrich, who was a production assis- 
tant for Hope on Hal Hartley films, later started The Shooting 
Gallery. "All three of us formed what hadn't existed up to that 
point — producer-anchored, director-driven companies. 
Previously most producers in New York were stand-alone or 
dedicated to one filmmaker, like Rollins and Joffe [working with 
Woody Allen] and things like that," Hope says. 

But with all of Good Machine's successes with mid-level 
independent films and confidence about where it stood in the 
industry, they were not quite prepared for the role they were 
asked to take on with Happiness. They originally joined on just 
to co-produce with Vachon, with Good Machine handling some 
of the financing through international sales. But when the 
movie got an NC-17 rating, October Films' new parent compa- 
ny, Universal, refused to go through with the distribution deal. 
"We were able to borrow the money to buy it back and dis- 
tribute it ourselves," says Hope. "Producing with us means we 
will do whatever is necessary. We will take that through to the 
very end." 

"It was a learning experience, but I don't know that they'd 
want to do it again," says Solondz, who was happy enough him- 
self to sign on Good Machine for his next film, which just 
wrapped and is as yet untitled. 

"We now put in our contract that if films are going to be 
dropped by their distributors, we have first and last option to 
buy the film back. I'm not going to make a film and give up on 



34 THE INDEPENDENT January/February 2001 




it," says Hope. "But I devel- 
oped a profound respect for 
what distributors do in a 
way that I couldn't have 
strictly as a producer. That 
said, it was the right deci- 
sion. Faced with that deci- 
sion, I'd do the same thing 
again, but I'd work harder 
to make sure it didn't come 
to that." 

One way of insulating 
Good Machine, or at least Hope and Schamus, 
from having to deal too intimately with deals 
like the Happiness one was to bring on board somebody to han- 
dle that side of the business. Miramax's David Linde came in as 
a partner in 1997 to head up the international sales division, 
Good Machine International. When they started to meet with 
distributors about selling films, Hope and Schamus had their 
first realization that they had a real name for themselves in the 
marketplace beyond just the film festival circuit. 

"They all knew who Good Machine was. They were aware of 
the level of the taste and it allowed us to get in the business 
much more quickly," says Linde. "They said, we know who you 
are, and we trust you." 

The company was still small at that point, a dozen people 
crammed into the office still on 25 th St. But they would soon 
expand and move to their current space, a crisp, open two floors 
along the north border of Tribeca. Now there are close to 30 
people at the company, with space for Ang Lee as well. 

Good Machine International brings even more films into the 
fold. It offers opportunity, like being able to co-finance a film 
like Lee's Ride with the Devil, but it also brings up a little more 
confusion about just what role Good Machine has in any par- 
ticular project. 

Basically what the distinctions come down to is Hope and 
Schamus' level of involvement in a project. If Schamus just 
helps out putting together some financing for a project, like he 
did with Todd Haynes' Poison, then the Good Machine name 
doesn't go on the project. None of Hal Hartley's films carry the 
logo even though Hope worked on them. For Good Machine to 
put its name on a picture, Hope says, they have to be with it 
from the beginning: "The title 'producer' isn't warranted unless 
you are the person there from the beginning to distribution." 

That said, the fact that there is no Good Machine logo on 
Lee's Sense and Sensibility, which was produced by Columbia 
Pictures, is not quite an oversight. "We were still the small guys 
on the block in terms of L.A. then," says Schamus. "We were a 
non-entity." (In fact, Hope had never even been to L.A. until 
1993 when The Wedding Banquet was up for its Academy Award.) 

Sense and Sensibility was an example of how Lee pushed Good 
Machine along to the next level, working with a major studio 
for the first time. "They very graciously worked out an agree- 
ment as to how and why I was a necessary part of that equa- 
tion," say Schamus. "For me and Ang it was the best introduc- 
tion to studio filmmaking, because there was nothing cynical 
about it." 



But when they tried to 
repeat the studio magic 
with Universal for Ride with 
the Devil, it didn't work out 
so well. The ambitious pro- 
ject about the emotional 
damage of the Civil War 
ended up floundering at the 
box office and had a hard 
time with critics, too. 

"We pitched the movie 
really believing in it and 
then found ourselves in this 
morass of studio politics," 
says Linde, who notes that they went through four presidents of 
production at the studio while the project was being made. And 
he adds that by the time the film was ready to be released, the 
budget was so low compared to everything else in the Universal 
pipeline that it got virtually ignored. "It was creatively disap- 
pointing but professionally a great education, which makes you 
just feel kind of mixed up, sad, and glad at the same time," says 
Linde. 

Good Machine learned enough from those experiences to 
try to get it all right for Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon. They 
went with two divisions of Sony, Sony Asia and Sony Classics, 
for financing. And they are keeping their expectations as low as 
they can for a film that wowed critics and audiences at the 
Cannes, Toronto, and the New York Film Festival and has 'box 
office' hit written all over its Matrix-like fight scenes (which 
were also choreographed by Matrix's Woo-Ping Yuen). "We 
have really fought to keep our expectations reasonable on this. 
It looks like such a breakout gigantic monster hit, but we've 
never tested those waters with a Chinese -language movie 
before," says Schamus. "The reality is that the movie is in 
Chinese," says Linde. "It's still an Ang Lee movie in Chinese, 
you know, so we're going to keep our expectations reasonable," 
says Hope, two months before its theatrical release. 

Overall, they say they aren't looking for the big score. They 
are still doing exactly what they've been doing all along, which 
is playing it by ear. "What's great about our inability to answer 
the question of 'what's upcoming on our slate?' is that far from 
being a measure of confusion, it's a measure of being able to do 
what we want to do," says Schamus. 

Hope lays out the three films he's worked on most this year 
as being indicative of the Good Machine way. One was the Todd 
Solondz film. Another, Human Nature, written by Being John 
Malkovich's Charlie Kaufman, he says was designated one ot the 
best unproducable screenplays by Entertainment Weekly. In the 
Bedroom, directed by actor-turned-director Todd Field, got a 
similar honor from Premiere. 

So what does the future hold? 

Schamus says, "All I can tell you is that Good Machine will 
be around in three months' time." 

Beth Pinsker b an associate editor at Inside.com and was previously a film 

crmc at the Dallas Morning News 



January/February 2001 THE INDEPENDENT 35 



A Producer 
at Heart 



i • • • • • • 



A CONVERSATION WITH PBS'S NEW PRESIDENT, 

Pat Mitchell. 

BY Patri c Hedlund 

She's a woman in a hurry. Pat Mitchell, PBS' fifth presi- 
dent/CEO, is on a whirlwind marathon, jumping from airplane 
to meeting room to lectern and back to the tarmac to jet to the 
next stop. Her goal is to visit with each of the nation's 346 pub- 
lic television stations before the end of her first year as the first 
producer to hold this job. From Anchorage to Miami Mitchell 
brings a new message about the digital future for public televi- 
sion. 

"Content is king," she states in a unique accent of soft south- 
ern sounds wrapped around crisply focused ideas. "Content is 
the key to the future." It is no accident, she says, that a hands- 
on producer has taken the helm just when digital conversion, 
DBS, and technologies like TiVO hurl new challenges to the 
ability of public television to hold its audience. As commercial 
media mergers narrow the diversity of broadcast dialogue in the 
U.S., public television's mandate becomes all the more urgent. 
Mitchell's race is to recapture the trust of producers, member 
stations, and the audience that PBS will deliver "the strongest, 
most impactful, and most distinctive content on every plat- 
form." She calls for "talented, courageous, and concerned pro- 
ducers to bring their work and their passion to PBS." 

The Georgia native laughs easily and nibbles peanuts during 
our interview seven months into her mission, but the layering 
of energy, experience, and commitment that she brings to her 
new job leaves a powerful imprint on the sunny fall afternoon. 

You took your job at PBS in March, the same month the "Breadcrumb 
Trail" article appeared in this magazine, in which I tried to disentangle 
the maze of interlocking organizations that is our nation's public tele- 
vision system. 

Yes, quite literally, the first day, the first hour, on this job I read 
it. A lot of people were talking about it. So I took it into my first 
meeting with my programming team and said 'Look, there are 
a lot of questions here, and we need to answer them.' I took it 



as a roadmap for our conversations in the beginning, a guideline 
to things we need to do better 

It was intended to be a roadmap for producers. 

And as someone who had been a producer, all the things you 
talked about have been my own experience. 

What were your experiences as a producer? 




I've had two different independent production companies 
which I started from scratch and ran myself. The first was called 
Pat Mitchell Productions, and I had one partner. We sold a show 
into syndication, so we had 115 people working for us at one 
point, and when that show went out of syndication, we went 
back to being a two-person deal. 

What was the show? 

Woman to Woman. My partner and I took an idea based on 
Woman to Woman and sold it to NBC. Then I formed a compa- 
ny with four other documentary filmmakers. We had this idea, 
called Century of Women, which we had taken to PBS first. We 
never got an answer back from PBS actually. 



36 THE INDEPENDENT January/February 2001 



When we got the idea of doing documentaries on women 
and children's issues, my partners and I assumed we'd end up 
working for PBS all the time. We thought, 'We're going to do 
these serious, issue-oriented documentaries — where else are we 
going to sell them?' We had all worked at the networks, we 
knew we weren't going to sell them there. 

Lifetime and such hadn't started yet. We were ahead of the 
cable channel curve. Finally somebody said: 'Why don't you 
take it to Turner?' I didn't even know Turner made documen- 
taries. They were doing 400 hours a year when I came on board! 
So my experience is as both a producer who ran two small com- 
panies and as someone who ran a $40 to $60-million budget 
when I was at Turner. [The films Mitchell commissioned while 
in this position won 44 Emmy Awards.] 

You had also been president of CNN Productions and Time, Inc. 
Television for several years when you were approached about heading 
PBS. 

Yes. There has never before been a President & CEO at PBS 
who's a producer. There's never been anybody in this job who 
knows what it's like to do a [production] budget, to manage on- 
line production and to be out there finding the funds to pro- 
duce programs. I have done all of that, from 'I've got a great 
idea,' to five years later finally cobbling together all the funding 
it takes to get it done. 

As a producer I'd gone to PBS and to PBS member stations, 
and frankly I never could figure it out. See, I didn't have a 
"Follow the Breadcrumb Trail" map, and that's why after 25 
years in the business I never worked for PBS. One of the first 
questions the PBS Search Committee asked was: 'We looked at 
your credits, and you've produced documentaries for all sorts of 
people; why never for PBS. 7 ' 

I said, "I think that's a really good question. . . ." 

Why do you feel it's so important to have a producer's sensibility lead- 
ing PBS now? 

In that first meeting I asked them the questions you raise in 
your article from the point of view of my own personal experi- 
ence. When I approached PBS originally, I was pretty informed. 
It was before I'd worked for Turner, but I had some credits. I cer- 
tainly wasn't an unknown person walking in the door. I said, 
"Look, why did I never get through the maze of PBS? Why did- 
n't I understand as an independent producer what the relation- 
ship was between member stations that produced, and whether 
I needed to have a member station go in with me? Where was 
the avenue in for independents? And why, now, does every pro- 
ducer I meet say 'I've had a proposal there for eight or nine 
months and still have no answer'?" 

I think you'll be surprised to discover how much I'm really a 
producer at heart. That is what motivates everything I do. 
Clearly I'm going to be looking for ways to get the absolute best, 
most interesting work on PBS. 

What do you think they are looking for from you? 

Without being critical of what happened before, there is a dif- 
ferent awareness now — at the top — of how this process needs 
to work to bring in the best talent, the best ideas, the best pro- 
jects. At the end of the day, all of our other challenges are going 
to be based on whether we have the best content — for broad- 



cast, on-line, and every other distribution platform. Content is 
king. 

I'm committed to finding ways to get the absolute best, most 
interesting work on PBS. I think they believe that not only do I 
know how to find the best people and get the process working 
so it's friendly to the creative community, but that at heart I 
care deeply about the kind of work PBS ought to be doing, in a 
way that is true to our mission. I'm not going to do it in a way 
that would work on Fox, for example. If we don't have the best 
content, what else have we got? 

What is the job like so far? 

First I needed to find out, 'Okay, what's going on here?' I looked 
at what was going on in Alexandria, Virginia [PBS headquar- 
ters]. Now I'm devoting much of this first year to going out to 
meet the member stations. It is my "Listening Tour." I kept hear- 
ing from our stations: "We don't really understand how the pro- 
gramming is getting commissioned." And that's within the sys- 
tem! 

Exactly. When I told people at the stations that I was making a map to 
explain how the parts of the PTV system fit together, they said 'Great! We 
need that.' 

Here's the good news. The PBS part is going to be completely 
and totally transparent and on the web. We have a new web site 
[www.pbs.org/producers] on the home page. When you click on 
it, the first thing you get is a letter from me which says, 
"Welcome to PBS and here's what we are looking for. . . ." It 
describes our whole approach to content. The next thing says, 
"and here are the people that you'll hear from and relate to." A 
new senior programming team has been announced. 

What have you put in place? 

John Wilson, who was the acting head of programming, had 
been shouldering the burden. And it is a burden. Two thousand 
proposals are coming in over the transom. That begins to 
explain how papers got piled up on desks. There wasn't any 
well-defined greenlighting process. 

I decided that rather than name a Chief Content Officer — a 
model we may eventually move back to — right now we need 
two things: First, we need to open up the process so people see 
there is an open door — both to our stations and to outside pro- 
ducers. Second, we need to clarify a process that is easier to 
navigate and from which it is easier to get results. 

To make that happen, we need a team with different voices, 
different perspectives, different experiences, so that we start to 
reflect that kind of diversity in our content. I've very carefully 
considered this team and how it will work. 

Is the team starting to get its wings? 

It's underway. We've been meeting every Thursday and we've 
already moved things along. John Wilson is the Senior Vice 
President of Programming in Alexandria, our home office. 
Gustavo Sagastume is Vice President, Programming, from 
Florida; Jacoba Atlas holds thai position based in Los Angeles. 
Cindy Johanson, Senior Vice President ot Internet and 
Broadband Services, is also on the team. [Two others ha\ e since 
been added: Alyce Myatt, Vice President, Programming, i- 
based in Chicago, ;\nd Cheryl [ones, Senior Director, Program 



January/Februan AVI THE INDEPENDENT 37 




Development and Independent Film, is the liaison with the 
independent community and manager of the program submis- 
sion pipeline described 
below.] 

Gustavo Sagastume said he's 
impressed with your team 
management skill. He was 
enthusiastic about making pro- 
gramming decisions with a consensus 
approach. 

That's the way we work. I believe 
in it. It's very hard for one person 
to make all the decisions about 
something as important 
as content. Yet there is 
one person who must 
ultimately be responsible, 
and that's me. But now 
there is a process in place. 

A little more detail on that? 

Every proposal has to be 
submitted in writing 
[PBS Program Development Of- 
fice, 1320 Braddock Place, Alexandria, VA 22314; fax: (703) 
739-5295]. It can be submitted by email if you want, but a sub- 
missions agreement is going to be signed. We were the only 
media company not requiring a submissions release. It's a great 
tracking system to know exactly where something is at any 
minute. It's a way of knowing, 'On July 12 1 signed this agree- 
ment,' and they shouldn't be sitting there the next July waiting 
for an answer. They are protection for the producers as well as 
the company, and I instigated them at Turner. I found them 
incredibly valuable. At PBS there is an actual greenlighting 
sheet we are going to use, so now we can track how we are mak- 
ing our decisions and evaluate what is working and what isn't. 
On the web site there are criteria for what we are looking for in 
every genre. 

[Download a release from the web site or call (703) 739- 
5306 to request a form by mail. Jacoba Atlas, V.P Programming, 
L.A., emphasizes that regional V.R's are eager to meet with pro- 
ducers face to face, and that even though every proposal is now 
entered into the central computer for tracking, "I can be an 
entry point, not a stopping point. I want to see outstanding pro- 
posals. Expanding inclusiveness is the goal of the new regional 
programming team."] 

What genres do you plan to use? 

Kids is one, News and Current Affairs, History, Biography, 
Science, Exploration, and Independent Filmmaking, which is 
not a separate genre but I am assigning a separate content team 
to work with the independent community to develop new fran- 
chises. 

Each content team has someone from the programming team 
as its content manager. But the teams are not just from the pro- 
gramming department; they include our promotion and mar- 
keting people, online people, and business affairs people. 

Once the senior team has commissioned something, the 



genre teams take over and manage it through the producer and 
with the producer. We work together. 

A lot of the money the public contributes to local PTV stations is being 
offered to support the kinds of bravery independents bring to filmmak- 
ing. People really appreciate that work. 

Not only do I agree with that, I think that is exactly what we 
ought to be doing. Our mandate is to serve the American pub- 
lic — all of us. That's as many diverse voices as we can find. The 
Minority Consortia was an attempt to fund a development 
effort so that Asian and African American and Native Amer- 
ican producers could have their own portal. I am a huge fan of 
PO.V I'm trying to find funds to continue that strand all year. 

That's some of the most exciting work coming through PBS. There are a 
lot of younger fans with a love of documentary, and P.O.]/. has some of 
the strongest content for that growing, young audience. 

Absolutely. We have virtually no other way for an eager but 
inexperienced documentary filmmaker to come onto the prime- 
time PBS schedule other than PO.V and Independent Lens. I'm 
asking [PO.V.] and some of the Minority Consortia leaders how 
we can come up with a couple of other umbrella series. There's 
not enough places for that yet. 

I'm pleased to hear you say that. 

I think you're surprised to discover that I'm really a producer at 
heart, and that is what motivates everything I do. Clearly I'm 
going to be looking for ways to get the absolute best, most inter- 
esting work on PBS. 

Then let's put an end to this myth that filmmakers can't recognize a bad 
business deal. It is a violation of the public's trust for PBS to receive 
donor dollars because of our work, then offer us contracts that make it 
impossible to survive. 

Two issues. First, this mindset: "If we put our PBS logo on your pro- 
gram and air it to our vast PBS audience, how could you ask for more?" 
As if it's impolite to mention we have to pay the rent. 
Are you hearing this from PBS in Alexandria or PBS member 
stations? 

Both: "Our logo is a mark of prestige" — even if it means you'll go three 
years with no income from work you have sunk every personal dime 
into. 

Hmm, I've heard that too, but I heard it from ... I mean I did 
a project for which I borrowed every dime I could, and A&E 
said that to me! [Laughs] 

Aha! So you got the A&E stamp of approval! 

I know that story and understand it. This is a very big issue that 
has developed over time because of the 2001 hours of program- 
ming a year being sent to PBS. A lot of it is coming from mem- 
ber stations saying 'We found the money to fund this, now you 
guys air it. All we want is a national airing." It built up a nega- 
tive ethos about the work itself: "Well, okay we'll air it, but we 
didn't ask for it." 

As a result the primetime schedule started to look like a 
mishmash. No development, no planning. And our audiences 
started to say, 'Well, where is History? Do you still have 
Biography? Where is Science?' 

We're trying to stop all that. We need to say to all of our 



38 THE INDEPENDENT January/February 2001 



member stations: 'Don't just go out there and make programs 
that you want to be national without us first talking about it 
together, because we want to make sure it's funded.' A nation- 
al airing doesn't come free to PBS. There's promotion, there's 
marketing, there's satellite time, plus the station relations work, 
network costs to get it on as many stations as possible. 
What is your second issue? 

Applying the Station Equity Model contract to Independents. 

Do me a favor, will you? Explain the Station Equity Model to 
me. Every time I ask I get three different definitions. I'm not 
sure what that really means. 

It emerged when Newt Gingrich's politics caused $50 million of CPB 
allocation to slip down the drain . . . 

Yes, it was a very scary time. 

Then came Barneygate, revealing that companies were using PBS as a 
branding and promotion mechanism to sell toys from which PBS did not 
benefit, so there was all this . . . 

Criticism. 

And rightfully, but Ervin Duggan with Peter Downey [former Senior Vice 
President of Program Business Affairs] helped save PBS and the struc- 
ture. The Station Equity Model was designed to give member stations the 
best return on their programming dollar vis a vis the producing stations 
(like WGBH) and profitable companies like those producing Barney. But 
independent producers fall into neither of those categories. Duggan's 
model 1) converted public funds for noncommercial programming into 
PBS venture capital; 2) paid absolutely nothing for three years' exclu- 
sive broadcast rights to indie films; 3) gave PBS equity ownership of 
indie productions; and 4) threatened the ability of truly independent 
voices to work with PBS. [Ed.: For details, see Hedlund's article in 
March 2000.] 

If we were bakers, consider doing business with a family that says: 
"Sure, we want your cookies. Here's the deal: you do the baking, 
we'll put up 30% of the money to buy the flour, then we eat 100% 
of the cookies for three years without paying anything for them. 
By the way, even though you're still in debt for the other 70% it 
cost to buy the butter and chocolate chips, if you happen to sell 
a few crumbs to somebody else, we are the first in line to gobble 
any proceeds. 

We have to make ourselves producer-friendly in every 
point of view. We certainly don't want to increase our rev- 
enues by taking them away from producers. That makes 
no sense whatsoever. I can't draw you a model, but I think 
every case needs to be considered individually. 

My position is that we have to find new sources of rev- 
enue so producers don't have to fundraise. We are not 
going to get that from Congress. It's not just sitting in 
some pool where I can call and say "send the money over, 
please." I am looking every way possible to get new money. I 
don't want to have to say to you, "That is a fabulous documen- 
tary, hut we don't have any money to give you a licensing fee." 
That's not right. My position is that we have to find new 
sources of revenue so we can pay what a producer deserves for 
the work. 

Let's look at the numbers. CPB puts up 15% of the production budget 
as seed money — in the few projects they help fund — and last year PBS 



was looking to put in 30% max. 

We've kind of taken away those percentages, but the fact is we 
have a limited amount of money. We are the only public televi- 
sion system in the world that gets less than 20% of its budget 
from the government. Look at the BBC or NHK or France. It's 
a complicated situation because, fundamentally, we are a system 
that was set aside to serve the public, but it's pretty much an 
unfunded set-aside. [Canada, with 1/8 our population, allocat- 
ed $800 million to public broadcasting in 1999, whereas the 
U.S. allocated $250 million] . I want to find more financing from 
other sources so we can put more money up to fund a project. 

Nonetheless, I am so deeply concerned about this because it 
really does come back to finding the money so that you can be 
courageous but you don't have to risk personal financial securi- 
ty to get a film made. Finding ways to bring us all together so 
that we can be that public portal for ideas and issues is what I'm 
trying to do. 

What are you considering for securing more program funding? 

Well, we get less than 6% from foundations. Absolutely outra- 
geous. Foundations have never been richer in this country. 
More of their money needs to be directed toward public televi- 
sion projects. We haven't gone to them with new bold ideas. We 
need to do that. And we need to find another Exxon-Mobil. 
Are there no other companies with a social-conscience, for 
Heaven's sakes? 



Who picked up Ken 
Burns' projects? 

Exxon-Mobil is 
Masterpiece Thea- 
ter and General 
Motors signed on 





PBS programming in the Mitchell era: Martin 
Scorsese (above) is executive producing The Blues. 
a G-part series on blues music directed by a pre- 
miere group of feature filmmakers, including Spike 
Lee, Michael Apted (left), Charles Burnett. Marc 
Levin, and Wim Wenders. 

for Ken Burns' projects until 2003. 
Is there only one General Motors 
deal to be made? No, I don't 
believe that. We have to go out 
and find them. What I wain to do 
is to help our producers, both in the stations and the ones like 
you, to come with the big idea. Let's find some new sources oi 
money, because I don't want any producer to spend five years 
fundraising. 

You've talked about finding other sources of revenue. Are you exploring 
some kind of partnerships with commercial entities, perhaps HBO? 
There are challenges that I'm sure you're aware of, hut I think 

CONTINUED ON PAG 



|anuan February 2001 THE INDEPENDENT 39 



Christopher Meloni in Kelly Anderson's Shift. 



Dramatic Possibilities 




ITVS's American Stories 

After the plug was pulled on American Playhouse, 
homegrown dramatic fiction all but vanished on 
public television. Since then, ITVS has stepped in 
with "American Stories," an initiative designed 
to fund hour-long narratives for television. 
GABRIELLE IDLET reports on 
its success and challenges. 




When you watch television, do you see yourself? Do you see the kinds of people you have known, 
working and loving and living in the ways that you have seen them work, and love, and live? 
do you see the places that matter to you, the rural communities or great expanses of wilder- 
ness or the dense, entropic city streets that have given shape to you, your family, your friends? 



Most likely not, unless you happen to work in medicine or 
law enforcement or the White House (which, if you're reading 
this magazine, you probably don't). And while the best televi- 
sion can, on rare occasions, capture the murky complexities of 
our human lives that transcend vocation, almost never does a 
TV drama truly mirror our discomfort or confusion or awk- 
wardness, or echo the emotional minor notes that fill our days. 
For these things, we go to the movies. (Or we purchase cable 
and find our way to independent films on IFC or the Sundance 
Channel.) 

If, however, you happen to switch on a PBS station in the 
right town at the right time, you might just find yourself watch- 
ing an hour-long drama that does all those things, produced by 
the Independent Television Service (ITVS) through its 
American Stories initiative. Three have come out this year, and 
seven more are in the works or awaiting release. Of the ones 
completed thus far, all have in common the originality of their 
makers' visions and a vital specificity that comes from being 
rooted in American region. 

Four years ago, ITVS sent out the first of three annual calls 
asking independent filmmakers to submit applications for either 
script development or production funding under their new 
American Stories initiative. The project was designed to fill the 
gap left by the dissolution of American Playhouse, PBS's long- 
running program of high-quality original drama, which was 
phased out over time for financial reasons. "At this point, most 
of the dramatic work you see on public television is British 
stuff — Masterpiece Theatre, Mystery, or what I'd call period 
pieces by dead authors," says David Liu, executive in charge of 
programming and development at ITVS. "With American 
Stories, we were looking to find a whole range of voices, con- 
temporary voices, filmmakers willing to take creative risks in any 
shape or form." 

So in 1997 ITVS let it be known that they wished to fund a 
handful of narrative projects intended for public TV broadcast 
to the tune of $300,000 each, and that it would give its film- 
makers full "creative, editorial, and financial control of the pro- 
duction." Not a bad proposition. As ITVS's programming man- 
ager Richard Saiz puts it, "I mean, can you think of anybody 
who will give you a whole six-figure budget, where you don't 
have to raise a penny? It's like manna." 

Selected filmmakers were expected to adhere to a couple of 
basic rules: come in on budget, and don't exceed the stipulated 
length of a TV hour (56:40). Reasoning for the former is obvi- 
ous; reasoning for the latter, according to ITVS, is twofold. 
First, as Liu says, "American Stories was conceived to be a lab," 
through which emerging filmmakers and documentarians look- 
ing to cross over could work in the narrative form. Limiting 
each project's length would give these artists an opportunity to 
explore dramatic filmmaking sans the pressures that go along 
with producing a full-length feature. Second, since its begin- 



nings, ITVS has held as a central component of its mission the 
aim to bring new audiences to the public broadcast arena. With 
that in mind, they were adamant that filmmakers gear 
American Stories projects toward television viewers rather than 
theatrical audiences. 



A, 



l.merican Stories was not ITVS's first effort to 
attract narrative filmmakers. In 1992, four years after the 
Independent Television Service was established by Congress to 
fund and present independently-produced programs for public 
television, ITVS issued a special call for dramatic work. That 
initiative brought forth its TV Families series, which included 
work by soon-to-be well-known independents Todd Haynes 
(Dottie Gets Spanked) and Tamara Jenkins (Family Remains). In 
fact, ITVS supports the development of dramatic work through 
a variety of on-going funding programs and on an individual 
basis as well. Among ITVS's recent narrative projects are Robby 
Henson's Pharoah's Army, David Riker's La Ciudad, and Carlos 
Avila's Foto-novelas series, all of which have garnered significant 
attention on a national level. 

Though many people aren't aware of it, ITVS's bi-annual 
Open Call invites filmmakers to propose projects of all kinds. 
However, the vast majority of applications the organization 
receives tend to be aimed at documentary funding. A full 80 
percent of March 2001 Open Call submissions were for docu- 
mentaries, while only six percent were for dramas, with the 
remainder made up of animation, experimental, and children's 
programming. American Stories has been, quite simply, a high- 
visibility push intended to spark the idea in the right sorts of 
filmmakers that they ought to consider creating original drama 
for public television audiences. 

Which is exactly what it has done. Each of the three annual 
calls for American Stories production proposals yielded over 30 
submissions, roughly double the dramatic submissions each 
Open Call brings in. Applications for script development fund- 
ing neared 100 submissions each time. (ITVS has funded a total 
of 10 scripts for development through the initiative, three of 
which it has optioned to produce.) A perusal of the five 
American Stories projects available for viewing at press time 
suggests that the initiative has succeeded in inspiring an engag- 
ing range of productions, works deeply grounded in the diverse 
environments from which they come. 

Andrew Garrison's The Wilgus Stories, for instance, offers us a 
view of life in Eastern Kentucky that goes a long way toward 
inverting patronizing stereotypes of Appalachian coal mining 
communities (perceptions that emerged, m pan. from some of 
the ethnographic documentaries that put the region on our 
nation's cultural map during the 1%0's War on Poverty'). 
Tender, complex, and deeply intelligent, Wilgus is a coming ol 
age drama told in three parts. 

"I had worked for years in documentary, producing n\v own 



January/February 2001 THE INDEPENDENT 




Ned Beany in Andrew Garrison's 
southern trilogy The Wilgus Stories 



work, and shooting and taping 
sound for other people, and I 
was interested in trying fiction," 
says Garrison. "I didn't know 
whether I could do it or not." 
Garrison made Wilgus's first sec- 
tion as a stand-alone short a 
decade ago. He then went hunt- 
ing for funds in the hope that he could generate several other 
cinematic chapters to the piece and form an unusual sort of fea- 
ture; as it happened, ITVS funded the film's second section as 
part of its TV Families program. Under the American Stories 
initiative, ITVS covered final production costs for the film's last 
section and took on the work of marketing and distributing the 
trilogy to programmers. 

The Wilgus Stories exemplifies the initiative's greatest 
strength — its aim to support authentically American stories in 
the form of innovative dramas. "With ITVS, I made the argu- 
ment that this part of the South doesn't usually get seen and 
handled in this way," says Garrison, "and also there's a class ele- 
ment. We don't often see working people speaking for them- 
selves." Adapted from Gurney Norman's novel Kinfolks, the 
film has the quality of being intermittently quiet in the same 
way that the best literature leaves "white space" for leaps of 
thought from readers. Wilgus encourages us to consider — and 
thus begin to understand — these particular fellow Americans. 
Some 2,000 miles to the West, the San Francisco -based Jim 
Mendiola had made a short, Pretty Vacant, and was developing 
a one-act play related to the legendary Texas tale of Gregorio 
Cortez, when he saw the American Stories call for submissions. 
His resulting ITVS-funded film, Come and Take it Day, tracks 
the efforts of a group of contemporary Chicano restaurant 
workers to find the buried silver offered a 100 years ago for the 
martyred Mexican American folk hero's capture. As much an 
exploration of the corrupting lure of assimilation as it is a mod- 
ern treasure hunt, the film, currently in postproduction, raises 
questions of identity and responsibility to one's history. Beyond 
that, Mendiola has sought to present public television audi- 
ences with multilayered Chicano characters — fully realized 
people whose interests roam from politics and social change to 
the intricacies of pop culture on both sides of the border. 

Says Mendiola, a curator of Chicano cinema who writes on 
film for the San Francisco Bay Guardian, "The great thing about 
public television is that everyone can potentially tune in to it. 
You don't have to have cable." With Come and Take it Day, 
Mendiola hopes to reach "regular PBS viewers who have an 
idea of what Mexican Americans are like — and this will totally 
challenge their thinking on that — as well as every Mexican- 
American or Latino with a TV who'll see that there's some- 
thing on public television for them." 

Other works range widely in content and style. Kelly 
Anderson's Shift follows the slender thread of a romance 
between a prisoner and a waitress in bleak, suburban South 
Carolina, while producers Bruce Kuerten and John Dijulio and 
director Rudy Gaines' The Cracker Man explores a woman's 
love for her 100-year-old grandfather in rural Alabama. Andre 
Degas' The Kitchen examines the cultural and generational bat- 



tles between an Egyptian immigrant shopkeeper living in New 
York City and his musician son, and Michael Hacker's Guide 
Season focuses on the struggle of a Montana hunting guide to 
hold onto a disappearing way of life in the face of societal and 
environmental change. These are smart films, and even where 
they are wet behind the ears with the relative newness of their 
makers, they do something important: they introduce us to sliv- 
ers of American experience not regularly shown on television. 
They reflect real people — if not ourselves, then others around 
us; if not those we've encountered, then those we might easily 
come upon if we were to travel any distance in our own coun- 
try with an open heart and a cocked ear. 



s 



O, ARE THESE WORKS MAKING IT TO A PUBLIC TELEVISION STA- 
tion near you? Of the three that have been broadcast thus far, 
all were offered to PBS for national hard feeds — and all were 
declined. (With hard feeds, stations generally air the show 

simultaneously 




Urban Tejanos 
go after the 
fabled treasure 
of Gregorio 
Cortez in Jim 
Mendiola's 
Come and Take 
It Day. 



with the feed 
and take advan- 
tage of its na- 
tional promo- 
tion.) The 
Cracker Man 
was accepted as 
a PBS-Plus feed 
(which offers a soft feed at off-hours; in this case, stations gen- 
erally tape a program, then broadcast at their discretion during 
a month-long window) . As of late fall, The Cracker Man has had 
a decent run with 299 air dates, most of them around the 4th of 
July (the holiday during which the him takes place). The Wilgus 
Stories and Shift, which were offered to stations directly by ITVS 
after PBS refused them, have had 45 and 20 airings respective- 
ly. Guide Season was declined by PBS and was set to be offered 
to stations by ITVS in November, as this issue went to press. 
With only three of 10 works as of yet out in the world, it's too 
early to draw conclusions about the relative success of their pro- 
gramming. Nonetheless, it appears that both national and local 
PBS programmers have been less than universally receptive to 
these works. What's the story? 

Says Wilgus' s Garrison, "Part of the problem with ITVS — and 
I love ITVS — is that its own mission makes it difficult: If you're 
serving underserved audiences, then you're making material 
that not everybody wants to see. So these program directors 
look at this, and many of them say, 'we don't have an audience 
for this.' " Lois Vossen, ITVS's director of broadcast distribution 
and communications, adds: "I empathize with the programmers. 
Of course, there's the public and then there's the public televi- 
sion audience, which is a totally different thing. The program- 
mers would love to serve the larger public, but their demo- 
graphics are white people between the ages of 40 and 85," she 
points out. "ITVS is trying to expand who turns on public tele- 
vision, and programmers understand that and welcome that, 
but they're still trying to serve a core audience that's basically 
sending in their pledge every month." 

"I'm not that happy with the carriage of Shift" remarks Kelly 
Anderson. "[But] I actually feel good about ITVS's marketing 



42 THE INDEPENDENT January/February 2001 




of it. They put it out there. And the film did okay festival-wise. 
It premiered at Rotterdam, and it did a number of festivals in 
the United States. I just don't know how dramas find a home at 
PBS." 

Arguably, because the films are not presented as parts in a 
series, they can have a difficult time making it through the pro- 
gramming labyrinth. As Anderson puts it, "One-time airings is 

a hard context for this 
kind of film. I think 
Shift would have lived 
well with a group of 
dramas, because it's a 
little bit less tradition- 
al. This is just my 
guess, but it might 
have been hard for 
programmers to 

understand it." 

But Scott Dwyer, program director at San Francisco's KQED, 
suggests that the opposite has been true in his experience. "It's 
easier to schedule them not as a series, but instead as individ- 
ual shows." Dwyer, who has aired all three American Stories 
films available so far, notes that dramas from American 
Playhouse and documentaries from PBS's PO. V series, for exam- 
ple — both of which carry with them the brand and visibility of 
their series names — have done just as well when broadcast as 
stand-alone shows as when aired in a series time-slot. 

According to Vossen, ITVS did in fact aim to offer the initial 
three American Stories films as a series to public television sta- 
tions, but feedback from programmers indicated that they 
wouldn't be likely to broadcast them as a group, given their dis- 
tinct stylistic differences. Indeed, echoes ITVS's Liu, "American 
Stories has produced some very interesting things, but never- 
theless they do cause some problems for programmers because 
they don't fit in 



existing boxes; they 
are all one of a 
kind." 



A, 




The Kitchen: A son defies his Egyptian father's 
wishes in Andre Degas' New York-set drama. 



.SK AROUND, 
though, and every- 
one seems to wish 
there was more 
American drama on 
public television. 
Says Gayle Loeber, who served as ITVS's director of marketing 
before moving to NETA, a public television association of 
member stations, "There just isn't much narrative work on PBS. 
Masterpiece Theatre, sometimes Great Performances, a few of the 
new initiatives that are coming through, but for the most part 
there isn't much." In part, Loeber stresses, this is due to the fact 
that dramatic work is so much more costly to produce than doc- 
umentary. 

"There's a perception that PBS has all this British drama, but 
where's the American work?" PBS spokesman Harry Forbes 
agrees. "The reality is that Exxon-Mobil has fully underwritten 
Masterpiece Theatre for all these years, so it doesn't cost PBS a 



A hunting guide attempts to reconcile his 
life with changing social attitudes in 
Guide Season. 



cent. That's why there's been a consistent presence of British 
drama, and a less consistent presence of American drama. 
American drama is just very, very expensive." 

But worth it, believes Shift director Anderson. "Why should 
I have to pay $4-95 a month to get my Sundance Channel 
Sundays," she wonders, "when it seems to me clearly that this is 
the kind of work that should be on public television? It's inno- 
vative, it's experimental, it's different, it's new voices — I mean, 
it's everything that PBS is about." 

Many are hopeful that PBS's high-powered new president Pat 
Mitchell, who hails from the cable broadcasting arena and, it so 
happens, sits on the board of the Sundance Institute, will push 
for more dramatic work. [See interview page 36.] "Because 
Mitchell's a producer, she may be bringing a different sensibility 
to that side of it," says Loeber. 

Indeed, PBS has been involved in the development of sever- 
al new dramatic series that are aimed at replenishing the public 
TV landscape with narrative 
work based in the U.S. 
Exxon-Mobil Masterpiece 
Theater's American Collection, 
a series launched last fall 
through a partnership 
between the BBC, WGBH/ 
Boston, and Alt Films, aims 
to generate high-quality 
drama drawn from stories by 
U.S. authors like Langston 
Hughes, Henry James, and 
Tennessee Williams. Another 
series, WNET New York's 
Stage on Screen, produces the- 
atrical work for public television; its first program, The Man 
Who Came to Dinner, was broadcast live last October. And from 
KCET in Los Angeles, PBS Hollywood Television is creating char- 
acter-driven dramas and comedies, shot on a sound stage in a 
style reminiscent of Hollywood's Golden Age. 

"We have long felt the need for an increased presence of 
American drama on PBS," Forbes notes. "And, though 
American drama is the most expensive of programming forms, 
we think these new series will go a long way towards plugging 
that hole." 

As for American Stories, says ITVS's Liu, while the remain- 
ing selected projects take shape and find their way onto public 
television, ITVS has placed the funding of new work on hold so 
that it can evaluate the program. Liu anticipates that the orga- 
nization will issue another call for dramas sometime this sum- 
mer or fall. And whether or not the bulk of the American 
Stories films enjoy widespread programming on PBS, the 
Independent Television Service remains committed to fighting 
the good tight. "What 1 always remind myself and mv staff i> 
that we're here to change public television," says Vossen. "If 
everything we did was embraced, then we wouldn't be funding 
all the right things. We're pushing the envelope." 

A fiction writer and arts journalist who has published in such magazines as 

Us, Penthouse, the Indiana Review, and Filmmaker, Gabrielle Idlet was 

the Sundance Institute's first Writer in Residence. 




January/February 2001 THE INDEPENDENT 43 



1 




SHOOTING GALLERY ENTERTAINMENT 

BY LlSSA GlBBS 



Ck ^n 


Chairman of 


Shooting Gallery Entertainment, 


*r* ^ M : 


Shooting Gallery 


609 Greenwich St., 


■~2%M_ •* 1 


Entertainment 






Larry Meistrich 


New York, NY 10014; 




(212) 905-2001; fax: 905-1789; 




(r) Shooting 
Gallery Films 
President 


www.shootinggallery.com; 




contact: Larry Meistrich, 


*■ Ji 


Eamonn Bowles. 


Chairman/CEO 



What is Shooting Gallery Entertainment? 

Shooting Gallery Entertainment is a film, TV, music, 
development/production/distribution company. 

Who is Shooting Gallery Entertainment? 

Shooting Gallery Entertainment management 
includes: Larry Meistrich (Chairman/CEO); 
Stephen Carlis (President); Eamonn Bowles 
(President, Shooting Gallery Films); Josh Kane 
(President, Shooting Gallery Television); and Phil 
Carson (President, Shooting Gallery Music). 

Total number of employees: 

More than 100. 

How, when, and why did Shooting Gallery 
Entertainment come into being? 

Shooting Gallery Entertainment was started for 
the simple purpose of providing production oppor- 
tunities, so filmmakers and other artists could tell 
their stories. Since 1990 we have transformed to 
all media including film, TV, and music in terms of 
development and production. We've produced 
roughly 100 projects for film, TV, and commer- 
cial/music video. [For a story on the acquisition of 
Gun for Hire and other service operations of The 
Shooting Gallery, see p. 11.] 

Unofficial motto or driving philosophy: 

To inspire artistic expression and act as a creative 
developer, producer, and distributor. 

When did you start distributing films other 
than the ones you produced? 

We have only been distributing since 1998 and our 
third release, / Went Down, was our first acquisi- 
tion. 



What types of works do you distribute? 

Well, as much as possible, we try to distribute 
films that have a point of view that can connect 
with an audience. We're not too interested in 
generic stuff. 

What drives you to distribute the films you do? 

While everything is ultimately a business decision, 
whether the film appeals to us personally is the 
driving force. So much effort and commitment are 
needed to get many of these films off the ground 
that we have to be inspired by what we're pro- 
moting in order to do it the best way we can. This 
is a tough business and there are easier ways to 
make money, but the rewards for success with a 
film we really care about are pretty incomparable. 



Shooting Gallery's latest 
films: Julie Johnson and 
A Time for Drunken 
Horses. 




Are you also involved in co-production or co- 
financing of works? 

We produce and acquire pictures. We also co-pro- 
duce productions such as the award-winning You 
Can Count on Me, which we produced with Hart 
Sharp Entertainment, and the upcoming Love 
Comes to the Executioner with Sandra Bullock's 
Fortis Films. We are co-producing a Sun Records 
documentary with Middle Fork Productions and 
WNET/New York's American Masters series. 

Where do Shooting Gallery titles generally 
show? 

At the top markets that reach the target audi- 
ences. 

In 1999 you began distributing a package of 
films twice a year. Can you describe how this 
works? 

The package of films you're referring to is the 
Shooting Gallery Film Series. What we do basical- 
ly is acquire high quality films that for whatever 
reasons have not gotten satisfactory deals for the- 
atrical distribution. We then give the films a two 
week nationwide theatrical run in 16 cities at 
Loews Cineplex Theatres. The big plus we have is 
that we've secured corporate sponsorship to pay 
for the advertising costs of these two-week runs. 
This allows us to take a chance on great films and 
be able to support them with a substantial ad 
campaign, which is vital in today's incredibly 
crowded marketplace. We release 
12 films a year in this program — 
six in the spring series and six in 
the fall. We also have output deals 
with Blockbuster video and 
Starz/Encore cable for these films. 
The exciting thing about this whole 
program is that we get to release a 
lot of films that would never have 
had the chance to get theatrical 
distribution, and some of them 
have been among the best 
reviewed films of the year, and, in 
the case of Croupier, one of the big 
commercial specialized hits of the 
year. 

What happens if one of those 



3e 

<-> c 



44 THE INDEPENDENT January/February 2001 



films is especially popular with audiences? Is 
it held over? 

If the film is well received in the two-week run, it 
can be held over, expanded, and opened in other 
cities. This has happened to some extent with 
every film we've released in the series. If the film 
works, we have the ability to expand it as much as 
the market will bear. 



(below) Edie Falco and Aaron Harnick in Eric 
Mendelsohn's Judy Berlin, which kicked off 
Shooting Gallery's successful screening series. 

From Croupier, Shooting Gallery's summer 
2000 series breakthrough success. 



Range of production budgets of titles in your 
collection: 

The amount it costs to create art is irrelevant. 

Biggest change at Shooting Gallery Entertain- 
ment in recent years: 

Philosophically, there has been no change. 
Changes revolve around growing and now reach- 
ing markets with specialized releases through our 







Films and filmmakers you've distributed 
through this series: 

Bob Gosse's upcoming Julie Johnson, starring Lili 
Taylor and Courtney Love; Frank Novak's Better 
Housekeeping; Bahman Ghobadi's A Time for 
Drunken Horses (Camera d'Or, Cannes 
International Film Festival 2001); Kenneth 
Lonergan's You Can Count on Me (Grand Jury 
Prize & Waldo Salt Screenwriting Award, 2001 
Sundance Film Festival); Mike Hodges' Croupier-, 
Eric Mendelsohn's Judy Berlin-, Billy Bob 
Thornton's Sling Blade-, and Bruce Sinofsky's Sun 
Records documentary, which currently is in pro- 
duction for both television and theatrical releases. 

Where do you find your titles and how should 
filmmakers approach you for consideration? 

We mostly find them at major film festivals, but 
basically wherever films are screened, we'll check 
them out. Also, from a steady diet of tapes that we 
solicit. Because we're covering the world's output 
of cinema with a very limited, yet devoted staff, 
it's very hard to process the unsolicited submis- 
sions, unless they arrive with recommendations or 
tangible selling elements. It's simply a question of 
hours in the day. 



film series with Loews Cineplex Entertainment. 

The most important issue facing Shooting 
Gallery Entertainment today is . . . 

maintaining artistic integrity and high quality in an 
ever-competitive marketplace. 

Where will Shooting Gallery Entertainment be 
10 years from now? 

According to our lease: 609 Greenwich Street. 

What's your basic approach to releasing a 
title? 

Securing a core constituency for the film and 
building from there. The hardest thing to do is get 
a film off the ground. 

Best distribution experience you've had lately: 

Sometimes we put a film out and we can't keep 
the public away. But often our best efforts are on 
things that don't work, so it's doubly rewarding 
when something catches on. That's what hap- 
pened with Croupier last summer, and it kind of 
reassured me that there still is a substantial audi- 
ence for complex, challenging, unsentimental 
films that don't have big stars or marketing bud- 
gets that could feed the world's poor. 



If you weren't distributing films, what would 
you be doing? 

Considering I've dedicated my entire professional 
life to creating Shooting Gallery, I've never thought 
about doing something else. 

What would people be most surprised to learn 
about your company or its founders? 

That inside our macho exteriors is a little girl 
yearning to be free (not really). That our execu- 
tives are all accomplished ballroom dancers. 

Other distributors that you admire and why: 

Strand Releasing and Sony Pictures Classics have 
remained very focused on creative and fit it into 
successful business models. 

The best film you've seen lately was . . . 

A Time for Drunken Horses — it's truly an amaz- 
ing film. 

What's the difference between Shooting 
Gallery and other distributors of independent 
films? 

The one thing I really like about this place is that 
we're open minded and receptive to ideas that 
make sense. There is no calcified path to follow- 
just what's right for each individual film. I think 
we've got a good track record (and our Film Series 
is emblematic of this) of coming up with smart 
ways around the hurdles. 

If you could only give independent filmmakers 
one bit of advice it would be to . . . 

do your homework. This industry is not a charity. 
It's the business of being in the arts. 

Upcoming titles to watch for: 

Julie Johnson, directed by Bob Gosse, written by 
Wendy Hammond and Bob Gosse. starring Lili 
Taylor and Courtney Love. Better Housekeeping, 
written and directed by Frank Novak. As part of 
the Spring 2001 season of the Film Series, we 
have The Day I Became A Woman. Eureka, The 
Burning Man, The Last Resort and When Brendan 
Met Trudy. 

The future of independent film distribution in 
this country is one that . . . 

is bleak in the short term because of the cost of 
releasing films, but is bright further down because 
as broadband develops it will change everything 
in niche and specialized marketplaces. 

Distributor FAQ profiles a wide range of distribu- 
tors of independent film and video. Send profile 
suggestions to Lissa Gibbs. co The Independent. 
304 Hudson St.. 6 ft. New York. NY 10013: or drop 
an email to lissag@earthlink.net. 

Lissa Gibbs is a contributing editor to 
The independent and former Film Arts Foundation 

Fest director. 



January/February AVI THE INDEPENDENT 45 



ECHO LAKE 



CHELLE COE 



I worked for a producer named Michael Nesmith 
who helped finance indie films such as Repo Man 
and Tape Heads. Before that I founded a compa- 
ny called Yearlook/Camp TV that produces videos 





Doug 

Mankoff, 

President 



Echo Lake Productions, LLC, 

213 Rose Av., 2nd fl., Venice, CA 90291; 

(310) 399-9164; fax: 399-9278; 

contact@echolakeproductions.com; 

Doug Mankoff, President, 

Mark Dempsey, Director of Development 



What is Echo Lake Productions? 

Echo Lake is a film fund for indepen 
dent features. At the moment, Echo 
Lake only finances and produces nar- 
rative films, as opposed to documen- 
taries. There are two sides to the 
company: the financing side, which acts 
like an aggressive 
entertainment ECHO LAKE P 

bank, serving the production company and film 

needs of producers 

who lack some or all of their financing; and the' 
producing side, which options and develops pro- 
jects that the company will help finance. 

When and why did Echo Lake come into being? 

I (Doug Mankoff) founded the company in 1997 by 
raising the fund from private investors. The mis- 
sion of the company is to help make films that 
matter. 

The driving philosophy behind Echo Lake 
Productions is . . . 

that it is possible to invest in films in a smart way. 
I saw that banks were investing in films. Banks 
typically avoid risk. I decided to raise a fund 
designed to take on more risk than banks would 
take and to charge slightly more for that increased 
risk. The fund is set up to be somewhat like 
socially responsible mutual funds. We only invest 
in films that are about things that matter. 

Who is the staff of Echo Lake Productions? 

Peter Wetherell is our foreign sales consultant and 
helps us evaluate projects from a financial per- 
spective. Mark Dempsey is our director of devel- 
opment and helps us evaluate projects from a cre- 
ative perspective. The company has a long-stand- 
ing relationship with producer Robin Alper (Things 
Beneath the Sun-, La Ciudad), who steers a lot of 
interesting projects our way. 

The company is relatively young; what were 
you and Peter doing before you founded Echo 
Lake? 




for schools and camps. I have both busi- 
ness school and film school back- 
grounds, so I try to examine film 
financing from both perspectives. 
Peter Wetherell used to be a foreign 
sales agent for Columbia TriStar 
International Television and Entertain- 
ment Licensing in 
ODUCTtONS Germany. 

Fund for the independents .. 

How many projects 
do you fund, both as 

investments and as loans, on average each 

year? 

Two to three. 

How many projects have you funded since your 
inception? What have been the distribution/ 
exhibition paths of those projects? 

Echo Lake has funded seven features to date. Our 
biggest success was the completion money we 
provided for David Riker's The City (La Ciudad), 
which enjoyed a limited arthouse release run last 
fall through Zeitgeist Films and recently aired on 
PBS stations across the country. We continue to 
sell La Ciudad to foreign distributors. Other pro- 
jects Echo Lake has provided financing for include 
A Dog of Flanders, which got a pretty wide the- 
atrical release two years ago through Warner 
Bros., and Things Behind the Sun, the new fea- 
ture from Allison Anders that we co-financed with 
Sidekick Entertainment, a similar fund based here 
in LA. 

What is the estimated dollar amount per pro- 
ject (loaned and invested)? 

Usually between $500,000 and $1,000,000. This 
amount can often provide the crucial missing 
piece for films with budgets of up to $4,000,000. 

How many submissions do you receive annually? 
Out of those, how many do you invest in? 

In 1999 we received roughly 1,200 submissions. 
Of those, we invested money in only four. 



What types of projects do you seek? 

For both producing and financing projects, the 
script and the director are crucial. Ultimately, we 
are looking for projects that have the potential for 
theatrical release. At our budget range, that usu- 
ally means an arthouse or niche release. Projects 
based on underlying material such as plays, 
books, or old films often catch our attention. 

Are there any restrictions or qualifications 
requirements? 

It certainly helps if the producer has produced 
before, but it is not essential. The key is that their 
project is worthy. 

What types of projects would Echo Lake defi- 
nitely not fund? 

Documentaries, animation, porn. Projects with 
directors who have not yet directed. Z-grade 
genre films that seem destined for the video shelf 
rather than your local theater. 

Does your funding cycle include hard dead- 
lines or can producers approach you year 
round? 

Year round is fine. 

How does a producer submit a project to you? 

Because we're a smaller company, we need to 
see a summary first in order to determine whether 
or not we should read the whole script. We also 
need to learn more about the project's attach- 
ments (director and cast) and the budget in order 
to determine whether we should consider the pro- 
ject for production or financing. Does the producer 
want us to come in and produce the project (pro- 
duction) or is the producer looking more for an 
executive producer, a financier (financing)? Our 
investors also require that we get release forms 
signed by the writer, even for summaries, unless 
the project is submitted by a qualified producer, 
agent, or attorney. 

Do you look at all projects first as possible 



46 THE INDEPENDENT January/February 2001 




investments and then offer loan financing to 
those that appeal to you but which you decid- 
ed not to invest in? 

We try to figure out right away whether the pro- 
ducer (or whoever is submitting the project) wants 
us to consider the project for our production side 
or our financing side. If we choose not to produce 
a project submitted to the production side, we 
may evaluate it later as a possible loan. 

Who is in charge of the production division? 
The financing division? 

While I oversee both divisions, I rely on the input 
of Peter Wetherell for the financing side and Mark 
Dempsey for the production side. 

Tell us a little about the review process. 

If we like the summary or the pitch, then someone 
in the company will read the script. If there are 
attachments, then we run numbers to decide 
whether it makes sense at the proposed budget. 

What are the financing decisions based upon? 
Who makes these decisions? 

Unlike most banks, we put a lot of consideration 
into how we feel about the story and about the 
director. We try to imagine what kind of reviews the 
film will garner. Like most banks, we then take a 
hard look at the numbers — what we expect the 
film will sell for in the various territories. We also 
consider who is involved and whether we can 
count on them. 

Echo Lake's loan financing division offers 
three types of loans: bridge loans, gap loans, 
and completion loans. Briefly define these 
options. 

Bridge loans are for the unfortunate (but not rare) 
producer who has lined up financing, but that will 
not flow in time for production to occur. In these 
situations, Echo Lake provides an interim or 
bridge loan. Gap loans are loans that have as col- 
lateral unsold territories. For example, a film may 
have pre-sales to Italy, 
German, and Spain for 
amounts totaling half the 
budget; the remaining 
half is the gap. Most 
banks will do gap loans 
of up to 20% of the film's 
budget. It certain cases, 
Echo Lake will do gap 
loans that are higher 
than this amount. Com- 
pletion loans are finish- 
ing funds that we lend to 
producers who are at the 
rough-cut stage. 

What are the basic 



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terms of these loans? 

Fees for each type usually run 15-20%. 
Depending on the situation, we may require back- 
end or deferred fees. For bridge loans, we are paid 
back by the bank providing the production financ- 
ing. For gap loans, we are usually repaid within a 
year or 18 months. Finishing funds are usually 
provided on a last-in first-out basis, meaning 
we're the first to be repaid once the film is picked 
up by a distributor. 

Are there time restrictions within which the 
loaned funds must be used? 

Usually the funds are provided directly to the pro- 
duction and are used immediately. 

Do you offer your loan-funded filmmakers any 
additional support (i.e. leads on additional 
funding sources, production equipment assis- 
tance, help in finding distribution, etc.) either 
in the production or distribution phases? 
Absolutely. We try to provide filmmakers with 
"smart money." In other words, they get the ben- 
efit of our experience and contacts. We often help 
find sales agents and distributors. 

If a project is rejected in the development 
phase, can it be re-submited later? 

Yes, especially if we liked the story. Certainly a 
project can change and become more attractive 
over time: a new director or actors might be 
attached, the budget might be lowered, etc. We 
encourage producers to stay in touch with us 
about projects that have stories that intrigued us. 

Why should producers turn to Echo Lake for 
loan financing as opposed to a bank? 

When Echo Lake likes the story and director of a 
given project, it can be more aggressive than a 
bank, which means it can provide more funds 
against less collateral. Flexibility and speed are 
attributes that banks don't often have, due to their 
committee style decision-making. Finally, banks 
don't like to do small loans (under $1 million). We 
don't mind as long as the project is worthy. 

What distinguishes Echo Lake from other 



financing companies? 

Our interest in stories 
that are about things 
that matter. Most com- 
panies look primarily at 
the bottom line. 

For those emerging 
producers, how do you 
recommend they learn 
more about their 
financing options? 
We will talk to anyone 
who has a quick ques- 
tion or two: email us at contact@echolakeprod 
uctions.com. Your project does not have to be 
ready. In general, producers can attend seminars 
and conferences sponsored by AIVF, the IFR and 
by AFMA. There are attorneys that specialize in 
this sort of financing [Ed. note: AIVF has a list of 
entertainment attorneys in our library and at 
www.aivf.org.] And sales agents are always 
searching for projects. 

What advice do you have for producers in sub- 
mitting their cover letter and synopsis to you? 

Don't send us something that is clearly not right 
for us (i.e. a $15 million empty-headed teen sex 
comedy). Be as specific as you can in the cover 
letter regarding your position and who you have 
attached, which will allow us to make a decision 
on the project as quickly and as efficiently as pos- 
sible. Good summaries are a truly rare thing. 
Since Echo Lake's primary concern is the story, 
clearly relaying your project's storyline to us is 
vitally important. 

What is the most common mistake applicants 
make? 

Sending us a project that is clearly not for us, be 
it the wrong sort of story or a budget that's beyond 
our means. 

What would people most be surprised to learn 
about Echo Lake and/or its founders? 

Our office is above a bar called the Firehouse in 
Venice. This place was featured in the film Speed 
and has a killer five-egg omelet on the menu. 

Other financing companies or grantmaking 
organizations you admire and why. 

Good Machine, NewMarket Capital Group, 
Shooting Gallery, because they get good stuff 
made. 

Famous last words: 

Don't give up on us if we pass on a few projects. 
We are in this for the long haul. 

Michelle Coe is program director at AIVF. 



48 THE INDEPENDENT January/February 2001 



( ■ =-*■ j-j r^ t* f- • /*. - «■ , r^ i 



by Scott Castle 

listings do not constitute an endorsement. we 
recommend that you contact the festival 
directly before sending cassettes, as details 
may change after the magazine goes to press, 
deadline: 1st of the month two months prior 
to cover date (march 1 for may issue). include 
festival dates, categories, prizes, entry fees, 
deadlines, formats & contact info. send to: 
scott@aivf.org 

Domestic 

ARIZONA INTERNATIONAL FILM FESTIVAL, April 19-29, 
AZ. Deadline: Feb. 12. 10th annual premier test celebrates 
excellence & innovation in indie film & video. Cats incl. 
narrative features & shorts, doc features & shorts, exper- 
imental, and animation shorts. Awards: Best in each cat. 
Formats: 16mm, 35mm, VHS, 3/4", Beta SP & digital 
video. Preview on VHS. Entry fees: $30 (under 45 min.); 
$50 (45 min. & over). Contact AIFF, Box 431, Tucson, AZ 
85702; Tel/fax: (520) 628-1737; azmac@azstarnet.com; 
www.azstarnet.com/~azmac 

ATHENS INTERNATIONAL FILM AND VIDEO FESTIVAL, 

April 27-May 5, OH. Deadline: Feb. 14. 28th annual test 
acknowledging current technical possibilities in film/video 
production. Each entry is pre-screened by a committee of 
artists. Works w/ high regard for artistic innovation, sen- 
sitivity to content & personal involvement w/ the medium 
are welcomed. Awards: Cash prizes & production services 
awarded to competition winners in each category, incl. 
narrative, doc, experimental & animation. Formats: 
35mm, 16mm, 3/4", VHS, Beta, Beta SP Preview on VHS 
(NTSC), 3/4" 16mm. Preview on VHS. Entry fees: $35, 
plus s.a.s.e./insurance. Contact: AIFVF, Athens Center for 
Film & Video, Box 388, Rm. 407, 75 W. Union St., Athens, 
OH 45701; (740) 593-1330; fax: 597-2560; bradley@ 
ohiou.edu; www.athensfest.org 

ATLANTA FILM & VIDEO FESTIVAL, June 8-16, GA. 
Deadline: Feb. 2. Fest, celebrating 25th anniversary, 
showcases the most original & innovative works by 
today's best independent media makers and highlights 
past works from previous festivals. Fest incl. premiere 
screenings of award-winning works, informative semi- 
nars, educational panel discussions & guest appear- 
ances film & video professionals. Cats: Any style or 
genre. Awards: Over $65,000 in cash & equip, rental. 
Formats: 35mm, 16mm, 3/4", 1/2", S-8, 8mm, Beta, 
Beta SP. Preview on VHS. Entry fees: $40 
(individual/nonprofit); $30 (IMAGE members/students); 
$50 (distrib./for profit); add $5 for foreign. Appl. avail, 
on-line. Contact: AFVF, Genevieve McGillicuddy, Fest 
Dir., IMAGE Film/Video Center, 75 Bennett St., Ste. Nl, 
Atlanta, GA 30309; (404) 352-4254; fax: 352-0173; 
afvf@imagefv.org; www.imagefv.org 

AVIGNON/NEW YORK FILM FESTIVAL, April 16-22, NY. 
Deadline: Feb. 23. RECONTRES CINEMATOGRAPHIQUES 
EURO-AMERICAINES, June 26-July 1, France. Deadline: 
May 18. 7th NYC spring fest is the American version of the 
18-year-old Avignon Film Fest. Both events feature top 
line-up of U.S. & French film premieres, retrospectives, 
VIP encounters, seminars & fetes. Audience vote decides 
4 winners; awards total $80,000 in prizes to 2 winning 



feature directors & 2 shorts directors in NYC. In Avignon, 
3 winning feature directors share $80,000 in prizes w/ 
fest accepting films from other European filmmakers for 
1st time. Any style or genre. Formats: 35mm & 16mm. 
Preview on VHS (NTSC, PA1 or SECAM). Entry fee: $25. 
Contact: ANYFF, Jerome Henry Rudes, General Dir., 
French-American Center, Inc., 198 Ave. of the Americas, 
New York, NY 10013; (212) 343-2675/011 33 490 25 93 
23; fax: 343-1849/33 490 25 93 24; jhr2001@aol.com; 
bettyswiss@aol.com; www.francetelecomna.com; 
www.avignonfilmfest.com 

CALIFORNIA SUN INTERNATIONAL ANIMATION FESTI- 
VAL, March 23-24. CA. Deadline: Feb. 10. Animators 
worldwide are invited to submit their work. All forms & 
styles of animation shorts are accepted. Awards: selected 
by panel of top industry pros; "The Golden Sun" (cash-best 
of the fest), "The Silver Stars" (for each cat) & "The Bronze 
Planet" (student award). Formats: 35mm, 16mm, Beta, 
3/4", 1/2", digital. Preview on VHS. Entry fees: $30 (inde- 
pendent short, under 20 min.); $50 (studio short, under 30 
min.); $20 (student project, under 20 min.) Contact: CSIAF, 
Attn: Jack Reilly, Dept. of Art 8300, CA State Univ., 18111 
Nordhoff St., Northndge, CA 91330; (818) 382-4545; am 
mate@csun.edu; www.csun.edu/ animat 

CANYONLANDS FILM & VIDEO FESTIVAL Nov. 1-4, UT. 
Deadline: Feb. 28. Special consideration given to works 
presenting thought-provoking material, any genre which 
offers solutions, ideas &/or hopeful futures based on pos- 
itive change given special consideration. Cats: dramatic 
feature/short, westerns, doc feature/short, southwestern 
regional issues, outdoor adventure, avant-garde/experi- 
mental, student-produced, comedy, animation. Awards: 
Cash may be given to winners in any category, amounts 



University of North Carolina at Greensboro. Continuing 
goal is to exhibit works of ind. artistry & personal vision. 
This year's theme "Virtual Noir," inviting artists to exam- 
ine the darker side of reality & move beyond conventional 
concepts of the film noir genre. Fest accepts work in all 
genres & cats, incl. animation, doc, exp., narrative & stu- 
dent short. Projects of all lengths & originating on all for- 
mats accepted. Awards of $3,000 in cash & Kodak film 
stock. Formats: 16mm, Beta SP VHS. Preview on VHS 
(NTSC). Entry fees: $30 (student); $40. Contact: CFVF. 
Dahron Johnson; 205 Brown Building, UNCG, Greensboro, 
NC 27402; (336) 334-4197; fax: 334-5039; cfvf@ 
uncg.edu; www.uncg.edu/bcn/cfvf 

CHARGED 60 SECOND FILM FESTIVAL, April 16, 
Deadline: April 1. Fest is dedicated to films & videos one 
minute & under, any genre accepted as long as they're 
clever, funny, or weird. Especially interested in animation. 
Films accepted will be screened on [www.charged.com] 3 
weeks before the fest screening. Awards: Cash prizes 
awarded in three cats: 1) Grand Jury, 2) Audience, 3) 
Spirit of Charged. Formats: Beta SP VHS. Preview on VHS 
[NTSC]. No entry fee. Download entry form on web site, or 
contact: Charged 60 Sec. FF, Daniel Falcone, 350 3rd Ave., 
Ste. 362, New York, NY 10010; (212) 481-6605 x. 225; 
fax: 481-5450; dfalcone@charged.com; www.60sff.com 

CINE LAS AMERICAS, April 12-19, TX. Deadlines: Feb. 15; 
Feb. 28 (late). Fest showcases contemporary film from 
diverse latin cultures such as S. America, the Caribbean 
& the U.S. Any works by Latino filmmaker, writers, pro- 
ducers & actors depicting Latino subject matter accepted. 
Works will be accepted in any languge; for works not in 
English subtitles are recommended. Formats: 16mm, 
35mm, VHS. Preview on VHS. Entry fee: $10; $30 (late). 



m m. : 



CAROLINA PANTHEON 

Celebrating its 11th anniversary, The 
Carolina Film & Video Festival 

touts itself as the "largest, oldest, 
and most prestigious international 
film festival in the Southeastern U.S." The theme of this year's fest is "Virtual 
Noir," and the festival is seeking films which explore the dark and haunting visual 
style with narratives of desperation and entrapment. Historically, such films have 
forcefully influenced independent and commercial filmmakers since the debut of 
the film noir genre after the Second World War. This year's fest has also expanded 
its call for entries to high school students. Its continuing goal is to exhibit works of 
independent artistry and personal vision to a local audience. See listing. 



determined by ticket sales & fund-raising work; Non-cash 
awards may be given. Formats: 35mm, 16mm, 3/4", 1/2". 
Preview on VHS. Entry fees: $30 (35mm); $25 (other for- 
mats); $20 (student). Contact: CFVF, Nicholas Brown, 59 
S. Main St. Ste. #214, Moab, UT 84532; (435) 259-9868; 
canyonfilm@hotmail.com; www.moab-utah.com/film/ 
video/festival. html 

CAROLINA FILM AND VIDEO FESTIVAL. March 14-17, 
NC. Deadline: Jan. 31. 11th annual fest held at the 



Contact: Cine Las Americas, 2215 Post Rd.. Ste. 2056. 
Austin, TX 78704. 

CLEARWATER INTERNATIONAL FILM FESTIVAL, March 
23-29, FL. Deadline: Feb. 23. Fest is seeking feature 
length, shorts & docs and accepting films that educate, 
entertain & enlighten for various cats: children/family, 
action adventure, drama, comedy, mystery/suspense, sci- 
fi/fantasy & foreign (subtitled or in English). Formats: 
16mm, DVD. 35mm, VHS. Preview on VHS. Entry fees: $25 



January/February AVI THE INDEPENDENT 49 






(shorts); $35 (docs); $50 (features). Contact: CIFF, 411 
Cleveland St. #262, Clearwater, FL 33755; (727) 442- 
3317; fax: 443-6753; ; www.clearwaterfilmfestival.com 

FLORIDA FILM FESTIVAL, June 8-17, FL. Deadline: Feb. 
23 (early); March 23 (late). 10th anniversary of this 10- 
day event featuring foreign & U.S. indie films (narrative, 
experimental, animation), seminars, midnight movies, 
Florida student competition, celebrations & special 
guests. Cats: feature, short, doc. Awards incl. Special Jury 
Awards, Audience Award, Cinematography Award & Grand 
Jury Awards. Entries for competition must have at least 
51% U.S. funding. Features must be 50 mm. or more. Fest 
also sponsors several curated sidebars, special events, 
seminars & receptions. Formats: 35mm, 16mm, 3/4", 
1/2". Preview on VHS. Entry fees: $15-30. Contact: FFF, 
Matthew Curtis, Program Dir., Enzian Theatre, 1300 S. 
Orlando Ave., Maitland, FL 32571; (407) 629-1088; fax: 
(407) 629-6870; filmfest@enzian.org; www.enzian.org 

IRISH REELS FILM AND VIDEO FESTIVAL, March 6-11, 
WA. Deadline: Jan. 12. 4th annual fest is devoted to show- 
ing the very best in contempory Irish filmmaking & contin- 
ues to feature independently produced works of & about 
Ireland w/ particular focus on productions depicting cur- 
rent social issues in Ireland. Fest accepts features, docs, 
shorts & animation. Films must have been written, direct- 
ed or produced by an Irish filmmaker working in Ireland or 
abroad. Formats: 35mm, 16mm, Beta, DVD. Preview on 
VHS (NTSC or PAL). Entry fees: IRFVF, 911 Media Arts 
Center, 117 Yale Ave, N., Seattle, WA 98107; (206) 682- 
6552 x. 13; fidelma@911media.org; www.911media.org/ 
events/irishreels/ 

MAKING WAVES FESTIVAL, May 4-6, NY. Deadline: Feb. 
15. 3rd annual fest seeks submissions from student 
makers of film, video & new media that reflect the 
vision, energy & diversity of the current student genera- 
tion. Cats: narrative, doc & experimental work accepted. 
Awards: Ten student winners will each receive: $1,000, 
round trip to NYC & 2-night/3-day hotel stay. Pieces 
must be under 60 min. & produced or directed by a stu- 
dent enrolled in an accredited program of study. 
Formats: 16mm, VHS, 3/4", Beta, CD-ROM, URL. 
Preview on VHS, floppy disks, Zip disks, CD-ROM, URL. 
Entry fee: $10 (payable to: Hunter College Nat'l Student 
Fest). Contact: MWF, Hunter College, Dept. of Film & 
Media Studies, Peggy Dale, Fest Dir., 695 Park Ave., Rm. 
433N, New York, NY 10021; (212) 772-4846; 
lnfo@makingwavesfestival.com; www.makingwaves 
festival.com 

MIAMI GAY AND LESBIAN FILM FESTIVAL, April 27-May 
6, FL. Deadline: Jan. 12. 3rd annual fest is looking for 
work of all genres, lengths & formats incl. dramatic, doc & 
experimental works, by, about &/or of interest to lesbian, 
gay, bisexual & transgendered communities. Last year's 
fest drew audiences of over 7,000, w/ films screened from 
around the world. Works must be Miami premieres; 
awards given in numerous categories. Formats: 16mm & 
35mm. Preview on VHS. Entry fee: $35. Contact: MGLFF, 
1521 Alton Rd., #147, Miami Beach, FL 33139; (305) 
534-9924; fax: 535-2377; festivalinfo@the-beach.net; 
www.miamigaylesbianfilm.com 

MINNEAPOLIS/ST. PAUL INTERNATIONAL FILM FESTI- 
VAL. April 6-21, MN. Deadline: Feb. 1. 19th annual fest is 
the largest film event in the Upper Midwest, bringing in 



more foreign & American ind. films to MN than any other 
film org. or event. Program is predominantly foreign, 
focusing on Scandinavian & Eastern Europe films, espe- 
cially those w/ politically relevant themes. Emerging 
filmmakers section is showcase for self-distributed, 
ind. filmmakers; entries are selected by a jury in cats: 
short fiction, short doc, feature doc & feature doc. 
Awards: Emerging Filmmaker awards & Audience "Best 
of the Fest" Awards. Formats: 35mm, 16mm, VHS. 
Preview on VHS. Entry fee: $35 (shorts, under 40 min.); 
$50 (features). Contact: MSPIFF, Univ. Film Society, 
2331 Univ. Ave. SE, Ste. 130B, Minneapolis, MN 55414; 
(612) 627-4431; fax: 627-4111; filmsoc@tc.umn.edu; 
www.ufilm.org 

NEW YORK VIDEO FESTIVAL. July, NY Deadline: March. 
10th annual int'l electronic arts fest presented in associ- 
ation w/ Lincoln Center Festival 2000. All genres & plat- 
forms of any length will be considered: video art, doc, 
computer animation, interactive (CD-ROM, etc.). All 
videos chosen will be projected in the Film Society's 
Walter Reade Theater at Lincoln Center. There are no cat- 
egories or awards. All work must be originally produced 
and/or postproduced in video/computer. Average of 40 
works presented in 14 programs; coverage in NY Times & 
Village Voice, as well as out-of-town & int'l coverage. 
Submitted works should be recent (w/in past two years); 
NY premieres preferred. Formats: 1/2", 3/4", Beta SP CD- 
ROM, digital. Preview on 3/4", 1/2" (NTSC, PAL), CD-ROM 
(for PC). Do not submit preview in Beta. Do not send mas- 
ters; tapes not returned. Entry form can be printed from 
web site. No entry fee. Contact: NYVF, Film Society of 
Lincoln Center, 70 Lincoln Center Plaza, New York, NY 
10023; (212) 875-5638; fax: 875-5636; sbensman@ 
filmlinc.com; www.filmlinc.com 

NOT STILL ART FESTIVAL, April, NY. Deadline: Feb. 1. 6th 
annual fest invites media artists working in abstract & 
non-narrative electronic motion imaging, in conjunction 
w/ music/sound design, to submit programs under 10 
min. in length. Fest is interested in work made w/ all 
technologies, the primary criterion being the aesthetic of 
the electronic screen. Screenings will tour & be broad- 
cast. Formats & preview: 3/4", Hi-8, S-VHS. Entry fee: 
$25. Contact: NSAF, Box 496, Cherry Valley, NY 13320; 
fax: (607) 264-3476; NotStillArt@improvart.com; 
www.improvart.com/nsa/ 

SAN FRANCISCO INTERNATIONAL LESBIAN & GAY FILM 
FESTIVAL. June 14-24, CA. Deadlines: Jan. 24; Feb. 7 
(late). One of world's largest, with an audience of 75,000, 
and oldest events of its kind, fest is celebrating it's 25th 
anniversary. Many works premiered in fest go on to be 
programmed or distributed nat'lly & int'lly. Rough-cuts 
accepted for preview if submitted on 1/2". Entries must 
be SF Bay Area premieres. Awards: Frameline Award, 
Audience Award. Dockers Khakis 1st Feature Award 
($10,000). Fest produced by Frameline, nonprofit arts 
organization dedicated to lesbian & gay media arts. 
Formats: 35mm, 16mm, Beta, 1/2". Entry fees: $20; $35 
(late). Contact: SFILGFF. Jennifer Morris, Co-Director. 
Frameline, 346 9th St., San Francisco, CA 94103; (415) 
703-8650; fax: 861-1404; info@frameline.org; 
www.frameline.org 

SEATTLE INTERNATIONAL FILM FESTIVAL, May 24-June 
17, WA. Deadline: March 1. Founded in 1974, SIFF is the 
largest film festival in the U.S., presenting more than 200 



features & 80+ shorts to an audience of over 140.000 
filmgoers each year. Fest is one of five N. American film 
tests in which presentation will qualify a film w/out distri- 
bution for submission to the Independent Spirit Awards. 
Fest hosts a competition for Best American Ind. Film, Best 
New Director (Int'l) & Best Short Film in addition to the 
audience-based Golden Space Needle Awards given in 
cats of feature film, director, actress, actor, doc & shorts. 
Formats: 16mm, 35mm & Beta. Preview on VHS. Entry 
fees: $25 (20 min. or less); $35 (21 min. to 49 min.); $50 
(50 min. or more). Contact: SIFF, Cinema Seattle, 911 Pine 
St., Ste. 607, Seattle, WA 98101; (206) 464-5830; fax: 
264-7919; info@seattlefilm.com; www.seattlefilm.com 

SHORT ATTENTION SPAN FILM FESTIVAL, April & travel- 
ing. Deadline: Feb. 15. 9th annual touring fest seeks short 
shorts (2 min. or less) for spring 2001 showcase traveling 
to 15+ venues throughout the U.S. & Canada. Cats: 
entries accepted in all non-commercial categories: narra- 
tive, experimental, animation, etc. Awards: Cash Prizes; 
Best of Show ($2,500), Best Animation ($1,000), Audience 
Choice ($1,000). Formats preview: VHS. Incl. press mate- 
rials & s.a.s.e. w/ entries. No entry fee. Contact: SASFVF 
c/o Dreamspan, Entry Coordinator, 1615 Montana Ave., 
Santa Monica, CA 90403; (310) 260-1551; fax: 260-1533; 
beth@dreamspan.com; www.shortspan.com 

USA FILM FESTIVAL, April 26-May 3, TX. Deadlines: Feb. 
28 (features, 60+ min.); March 2 (shorts, under 60 min.). 
31st annual fest has 3 major sections: noncompetitive fea- 
ture section; Nat'l Short Film & Video Competition & 
KidFilm. Feature section incl. premieres of new films, new 
works from ind. & emerging filmmakers. Short film & video 
competition showcases new & significant U.S. work. 
Awards incl. $1,000 prizes for narrative, nonfiction, anima- 
tion & exp. plus $250 Jury Awards. Formats: 35mm, 16mm, 
3/4", 1/2". Preview on VHS. No entry fee. Contact: USAFR 
Alonso Duralde, 2917 Swiss Ave., Dallas, TX 75204; (214) 
821-3456; fax: 821-6364; www.usafilmfestival.com 

XICANINDIE FILM FESTIVAL, April 6-8, CO. Deadline: Feb. 
16 (postmark). 3rd annual fest offers an open call to all 
independent Chicano/Latino media artists whose work 
brazenly challenges the dominant Hollywood paradigm in 
terms of content & execution. Criteria for selection are 
originality & resourcefulness. Cats: animation, doc, exper- 
imental & narrative (feature or short). Prizes awarded. 
Formats: 35mm, 16mm, video. Preview on VHS. Entry fee: 
$5, incl. s.a.s.e. for tape return. Contact: XFF, Daniel 
Salazar, El Centra Su Teatro, 4725 High St., Denver, CO 
80216; (303) 296-0219; elcentro@suteatro.org; 
www.suteatro.org 

Foreign 

BANFF TELEVISION FESTIVAL, June 10-15, Canada. 
Deadline: Feb. 19. Fest blends two components: a confer- 
ence for industry pros w/ important resource people & an 
informal environment in which to develop business rela- 
tionships & an int'l program competition which awards 
the coveted Banff Rockie Awards in 14 categories: anima- 
tion programs; arts docs; children's programs; comedies; 
continuing series; history & biography programs: info pro- 
grams; made-for-TV-movies; mini-series: performance 
programs; popular science & natural history; short dra- 
mas; social & political docs; sports programs. Entries 
originally in English or French must have their TV premiere 
after March of the preceding yr. There are also "on 



50 THE INDEPENDENT January/February 2001 



demand" screening facilities for all TV programs invited 
or submitted to the test, in or out of competition. 
Producers of programs judged best in the 14 cats will 
receive a "Rockie" Award sculpture. Other prizes include: 
Global TV Grand Prize, $50,000 cash prize for program 
judged best of the 2001 Competition; NHK President's 
Prize, $25,000 cash prize for the best entry in the com- 
petition shot or postproduced on HDTV; Telefilm Canada 
Prizes, two $20,000 awards for the Best Independent 
Canadian Prod'n in English & in French. All official 
entries should be in the NTSC standard & will be accept- 
ed on Betacam & Betacam SR For pre-selection screen- 
ings, entries will be accepted in VHS (PAL, low band only) 
but Betacam NTSC replacements will be req. for those 
entries selected as nominees. Entry fee: $250 (payable 
in U.S. or Canadian dollars); $100 (original content cre- 
ated for web-casting, w/ no prior or simultaneous 
appearance in another medium). Contact: Banff TV 
Festival, 1516 Railway Ave., Canmore, Alberta, Canada, 
T1W 1P6; (403) 678-9265; fax: 678-9269; info@ 
banfftvfest.com; www.banff2001.com 

CANNES INTERNATIONAL FILM FESTIVAL, May 9-20, 
France. Deadline: April 1. Largest int'l film test, attended 
by over 30,000 professionals, stars, directors, distribu- 
tors, buyers & journalists. Round-the-clock screenings, 
parties, ceremonies, press conferences & one of world's 
largest film markets. Selection committee, appointed by 
Administration Board, chooses entries for Official 
Competition (about 20 films) & Un Certain Regard section 
(about 20 films). Films must have been made w/in prior 
12 mo., released only in country of origin & not entered in 
other fests. Official component consists of: 1) In 
Competition, for features & shorts competing for major 
awards; 2) special Out of Competition accepts features 
ineligible for competition (e.g. by previous winners of 
Palme d'Or); 3) Un Certain Regard, noncompetitive section 
for films of int'l quality that do not qualify for competition, 
films by new directors, etc; 4) Cinefondation, new compe- 
tition (since '98) to present & promote short & medium- 
length fiction or animation films, final year student films or 
first productions thatshow artistic qualities that deserve to 
be encouraged. Film market administered separately, 
screens film in main venue & local theater. Parallel sec- 
tions incl. Quinzaine des Realisateurs (Director's 
Fortnight, call NaRhee Ahn at Independent Feature Project 
for guidelines & application. (212) 465-8200, fax: 465- 
8525; nahn@ifp.org), main sidebar for new talent, 
(deadline mid April); La Semaine de la Critique (Int'l 
Critic's Week), 1st or 2nd features & docs chosen by 
French Film Critics Union (selections must be completed 
w/in 12 mos prior to test). Top prizes incl. Official 
Competition's Palme d'Or (feature & short), Camera d'Or 
(best first film in any section) & Cinefondation (best final 
year student film). Formats and preview: 35mm, 16mm, 
VHS (NTSC, Pal, Secam), Beta (PAL). No entry fee, screen- 
ing fees may be incured. Contact: Cannes Int'l Film 
Festival, 99 Boulevard Malesherbes, 75008 Paris, France; 
011 33 1 45 61 66 07; fax: 33 1 45 61 45 88 ; RDF@fes- 
tival-cannes.fr; www.festival-cannes.fr; Cannes Film 
Market, contact: Jerome Paillard, 99 Blvd. Malesherbes, 
75008 Paris, France; 011 33 1 45 61 66 09, fax: 33 1 45 
61 97 59. Add'l info: Quinzaine des Realisateurs, Societe 
des Realisateurs de Films, 14 Rue Alexandre Parodi, 
75010 Paris, France; 011 33 1 44 89 99 99, fax: 33 1 44 
89 99 60. Semaine Internationale de la Critique, attn : Eva 




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lanuary/February 2001 THE INDEPENDENT 51 



2001 Arizona International Film Festival - April 19-29 




Box 431, 

Tucson, AZ 85702 

Tel/FAX: 

520.628.1737 

www.azstarnet.com/-azmac 



Deadline: 
February 12, 2001 






■D 




pril 1, 2001 



Si: US ' :■**■ M C, _ - W L- L^ 



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big muddy film 






call for. entries 
deadline: fanuary 15, 2001 



618.453.1482 

fax: ;.618.45.3.2264 

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southern illinois university 

dept. of cinema '"end photography 

carbondale, il 62901-6610 



Roelens, 73 Rue de Lourmel, 75015 Paris, France; tel: 
Oil 33 145 75 68 27; fax: 33 140 59 03 99 

CINEMATECA URUGUAYA, April 7-22, Uruguay. Deadline: 
Feb. 15. 19th annual fest devoted to short & feature- 
length, doc, fiction, experimental, Latin American & int'l 
films, w/ purpose of promoting film quality & human & 
conceptual values. Ind. fest aims at being frame for 
meetings & discussions of regional projects & of mutual 
interest. Fest has 4 sections: Int'l Full Length Film Show; 
Int'l Doc & Experimental Film Show; Info Show; Espacio 
Uruguay. Films should be subtitled, have Spanish version, 
or have a list of texts or dialogues translated into Spanish 
or in English, French or Portuguese for us to translate. 
Films wishing to compete should have been finished after 
Jan. 1, 1999. Formats: 16mm, 35mm, VHS (PAL or 
NTSC), U-Matic PAL. Preview on VHS. Contact: CU, 
Lorenzo Camelli, 1311 (11200) Montevideo, Montevideo, 
Uruguay; fax: Oil 598 2 409 4572; cinemuy® 
chasque.apc.org; www.cinemateca.org.uy 

HAMBURG INTERNATIONAL SHORT FILM FESTIVAL, 

June 13-18, Germany. Deadlines: March 1 (Int'l Short 
Film Competition & No Budget Competition); April 1 (3- 
min. Quickie). 16th annual fest is a forum for presenting 
diversity of int'l short films & a meeting place for film- 
makers from home & abroad. Awards: Hamburg Short 
Film Award (main award), No Budget Award (jury award), 
Francois Ode Award (jury award), Audience Awards (each 
cat). Theme of 2000 3-min. Quickie is "neighbors." 
Length: under 20 min. (exceptions possible); except 3- 
min. Quickie. Formats: 35mm, 16mm, super 8, Betacam, 
U-Matic, VHS & S-VHS. Previews on VHS. If previews are 
not in German or English, please enclose text list. VHS not 
returned. Contact: HISFF, KurzFilmAgentur Hamburg e.V, 
IHSFF, Friedensaliee 7, D-22765, Hamburg, Germany; 
Oil 49 40 39 10 63 23; fax: 49 40 39 10 63 20; 
kfa@shortfilm.com; www.shortfilm.com 

LAON INTERNATIONAL FILM FESTIVAL FOR YOUNG 
PEOPLE, April 3-13, France. Deadline: Feb. 1. Oldest 
French fest for youth, attracting more than 30,000 spec- 
tators & well known by French distribs. Awards: Prize of 
Laon is 30,000 FF (approx. $4,625) to the French distrib. 
Looking for high quality feature films likely to be of inter- 
est to children or young adults (fiction or animation). 
Formats: 35mm, 16mm. Preview on VHS. No entry fee. 
Contact: LIFFYR Florence Dupont, 9 Rue du Bourg, B.R 
526, 02001 Laon Cedex, France; Oil 33 3 23 79 39 
37/33 3 23 79 39 26; fax: 33 3 23 79 39 32; festival.cin- 
ema.laon@wanadoo.fr; www.laonfilmfest.com 

MELBOURNE INTERNATIONAL FILM FESTIVAL, July 18- 
Aug. 5. Deadlines: March 2 (shorts); April 6 (features). 
FIAPF-recognized fest celebrates 50th anniv. as one of 
Australia's largest & its oldest tests. Eclectic mix of indie 
work, w/ special interest in feature docs & shorts. 
Substantial program of new Aussie cinema. Int'l short 
film competition features cash prizes in 7 cats: Grand 
Prix City of Melbourne Award for Best Film ($5,000) & 
$2,000 for best of in each cat: Australian, experimental, 
animated, doc & fiction. Open to films of all kinds, except 
training & ads. Films 30 min. or less eligible for Int'l 
Short Film Competition; films over 60 min. eligible for 
noncompetitive feature program. Video productions con- 
sidered for "out-of-competition" screenings. Entries 
must have been completed w/in previous yr. & not 
screened in Melbourne or broadcast on Aussie TV. 



52 THE INDEPENDENT January/February 2001 



Formats: 35mm, 16mm, 3/4", 1/2". Preview on VHS. 
Entry tee: $40. Contact: MIFF, James Hewison, Exec. Dir., 
207 Johnston St., Box 2206, Fitzroy 3065, Australia; Oil 
61 3 417 2011; fax: 61 3 417 3804; miff® 
netspace.net.au; www.melbournefilmfestival.com.au 

MONTREAL JEWISH FILM FESTIVAL, May 3-10, Canada. 
Deadline: Feb 15. 6th annual test showcases Jewish 
films from around the world. Cats: feature, doc, short, 
animation. Formats: 35mm, 16mm, Beta-SR VHS (Beta 
SP). No entry fee. Contact: MJFF, Susan Alper, Director, 
352 Emery St. 5th fl., Montreal, Quebec, Canada H2X 1J1; 
(514) 987-9795; fax: 987-9736; festival® mjff.qc.ca; 
www.mjff.qc.ca 

PESARO FILM FESTIVAL, June 22-30, Italy. Deadline: 
March 31. 37th annual test's "New Cinema" program 
incl. features, shorts, fiction, nonfiction, experimental & 
animation. Production req. Italian premiere, completion 
after Jan. 1,2000. If not English or French spoken or sub- 
titled, enclose dialogue list in either language. Formats: 
35mm, 16mm, U-matic, Betacam. Preview on VHS. No 
entry fee. Contact: PFF, Fondazione Pesaro Nuovo 
Cinema, Via Villafranca 20, 00185, Rome, Italy; Oil 39 
06 445 66 43/49 11 56; fax: 39 06 49 1 1 63; pesaro film 
fest@mclink.it; www.pesarofilmfest.it 

SUNNY SIDE OF THE DOC MARKET, June 20-23, France. 
Deadline: early March. 12th annual market brings togeth- 
er ind. producers, distributors, commissioning editors, 
heads of TV programming depts & buyers from all over 
the world. Attended last year by some 539 companies 
from 35 countries, 182 buyers & commissioning editors & 
120 TV channels. Market provides opportunities for pro- 
ject development & meeting partners w/ Side-by-Side 
sessions (one-on-one meetings w/ commissioning edi- 
tors for advice on projects). Contact: SSD, 23 rue Frangois 
Simon, 13003 Marseille, France; Oil 33 4 95 04 44 80; 
fax: 33 4 91 84 38 34; sunnyside@wanadoo.fr 

TORONTO JEWISH FILM FESTIVAL, April 26-May 3, 
Canada. Deadline: Feb. 15. Now in its 9th year, event is 
the 2nd largest Jewish film fest in N. America. Fest is 
devoted to chronicling the diversity of Jewish life & expe- 
riences from around the world. Well-supported by the 
Toronto Jewish community, fest had attendance of 
15,000 last year. Cats: feature, doc, short. Formats: 
35mm, 16mm, Beta SR VHS (Secam, PAL). No entry fee. 
Contact: TJFF, Shlomo Schwartzberg, Dir. of 
Programming, 17 Madison Ave., Toronto, Ontario, 
Canada M5R 2S2 ; (416) 324-8226; fax: 324-8668; 
tjff@interlog.com; www.tjff.com 

TURIN INTERNATIONAL FESTIVAL OF LESBIAN AND GAY 
FILMS, April 19-25. Italy. Deadline: Jan. 31. Now in 16th 
year, one of longest-running int'l gay & lesbian events. 
Entries should be by lesbian/gay/bisexual/transgender 
filmmakers or address related themes & issues. About 
170 titles. Competition section divided between 3 juries: 
doc, long feature & short feature. Panorama section fea- 
tures new int'l productions. Award named after late fest 
co-founder, Ottavio Mai, presented to best screenplay for 
short. Cats: doc, feature, short.. Formats: 3/4", 1/2", 
35mm, 16mm. Preview on VHS. No entry fee. Contact: 
TIFLGF, Angelo Acerbi, Head programmer, Piazza San 
Carlo 161, 10123 Torino, Italy; Oil 390 11 534 888; fax: 
390 11 535 796; glfilmfest@assioma.com; www.tur 
inglfilmfestival.com 



May 2 -> 3 -2001 



Canadian !nternational|Documentary Festival 



Toronto Documentary Forf 



III! 



the 2nd dynamic edition of North America's most productive 

meeting of international documentary commissioning editors, program executives and producers 

working in the social, cultural and political genres ... based on the prestigious FORUM in Amsterdam 



;bmary 1 6 «" 2001 entry UtAlMJNi: for pitch slots 
March 23 * 2001 DEADLINE for observer seats 

m» 5Q+ international commissioning editors 

ms!f 3& pitch slots 

z aa y s www.hotdocs.ca 

<m «*» m, w» m, <m m* <m <m> «te DETAlLS 416.203.2155 

prII30-> May 6-2001 hot docs festival 

December 1 4 r 2000 DEADLINE for film submissions 

PEA] URfNll ' 48Si * 80 + documentaries from around the world 
mi " spotlight on the Nordic countries 
«a» i n fj us try symposium and more... 



11 Call for Entries 




FILTVl FF_S"TI\//KI_ 

\\\\ Annul Film /Vide o Festival 

Westhampton Beach Performing Arts Center 
May 3rd-6th, 2001 

Call or Write for Entry Forms (Due 4/1/01) 

Christopher Cooke, Director 

Long Island Film Festival 

c/o P.O. Box 13243 

Hauppauge, NY 11788 

1-800-762-4769 . (631) 853-4800 

From 10:00am-6pm, Mon-Fri 

or visit our website at www.lifilm.org 



January/February 2001 THE INDEPENDENT 53 



G 



■JJ^S^Si-^ii 



NOTICES OF RELEVANCE TO AIVF MEMBERS ARE LISTED 
FREE OF CHARGE AS SPACE PERMITS. THE INDEPENDENT 
RESERVES THE RIGHT TO EDIT FOR LENGTH AND MAKES 
NO GUARANTEES ABOUT REPETITIONS OF A GIVEN 
NOTICE. LIMIT SUBMISSIONS TO 60 WORDS & INDICATE 
HOW LONG INFO WILL BE CURRENT. DEADLINE: 1ST OF 
THE MONTH, TWO MONTHS PRIOR TO COVER DATE (E.G., 
MARCH 1 FOR MAY ISSUE). COMPLETE CONTACT INFO 
(NAME, ADDRESS & PHONE) MUST ACCOMPANY ALL 
NOTICES. SEND TO: INDEPENDENT NOTICES, FIVF, 304 
HUDSON ST., 6TH FL, NY, NY 10013. WE TRY TO BE AS 
CURRENT AS POSSIBLE, BUT DOUBLE-CHECK BEFORE 
SUBMITTING TAPES OR APPLICATIONS. 

COMPETITIONS 

AFI DVCAM FEST, April & Oct. (postmark). Fest, adminis- 
tered by AFI, the preeminent nat'l org dedicated to 
advancing & preserving the art of film, TV & other forms 
of the moving image, seeks to identify, recognize & reward 
digital video professionals. Entries must have utilized 
Sony DV equip, during prod'n. Cats: fiction, doc, experi- 
mental, creative event coverage, performance coverage. 
Awards: Grand Prize, Sony equip, of choice valued at up 
to $50,000; Category prizes, Sony equip, up to $5,000 or 
Sony video workshop. Winning entries featured at NAB 
Convention in Las Vegas & the 
AFI Fest in Hollywood. Preview 
& formats: DV, DVCAM. Entry 
fee-. $75. Contact: AFI DVCAM 
Fest, 2021 N. Western Ave., Los 
Angeles, CA 90027; (866) AFI- 
SONY; www.dvcamfest.com 




278-2209; efink@fulierton.edu; www.marquette.edu/ 
bea/write/STU-00-COMRhtm 

COLUMBUS SCREENPLAY DISCOVERY AWARDS: To 

bridge gap between writers & entertainment industry. One 
screenplay accepted monthly to receive rewrite notes from 
script consultant. Awards: Up to $10,000 option, script 
analysis, film courses, conferences, software. Deadline: 
monthly. Entry fee: $55. Contact: CSDA, 433 N. Camden 
Dr., Ste. 600, Beverly Hills, CA 90210; (310) 288-1988; 
fax: 288-0257; awards© HollywoodNetwork.com; 
www.HollywoodNetwork.com 

DOCTOBER qualifies feature & short length films for 
Academy Award consideration. All films entered into IDA 
Awards competition considered for invitation to DOCtober, 
if they meet following minimum reqs: screening format 
must exist on film (16mm or 35mm); no broadcast, or 
other TV airing anytime prior to, nor w/in 6 months follow- 
ing first day of fest; only individual doc films eligible. Early 
bird deadline w/ discount: April 15. Final deadline: May 
15. Fest programmers will invite selected films that meet 
these reqs by Aug. 15. A co-op fee may apply for festival 
screening. Entry form avail, on web site. Contact: Melissa 
Disharoon (310) 284-8422 x. 65; www.documentary.org 

DRAMA GARAGE THURSDAY NIGHT SCRIPT READING 
SERIES holds once a month script reading at Occidental 
Studios in Los Angeles w/ a 
professional director & profes- 



GENE SISKEL FILM CENTER OFFERS CHRISTOPHER 
METZEL AWARD FOR INDEPENDENT FILM COMEDY, a 

biennial award established to encourage comic innovation 
in a film format. Prize: $2,500. Deadline: Jan. 31. Winner 
will also be bought to Chicago for a June awards ceremo- 
ny, reception & public screening of their film. Films may be 
any length & have been completed within two years of Jan. 
31, 2001. Contact: Jason Hyde, (312) 443-3733; 
jhyde2artic.edu; www.siskelfilmcenter.org 

LAUGHING HORSE PRODUCTIONS announces its 3rd 
Annual Screenplay Contest. Seeking compelling scripts of 
every genre — scripts yet to receive attention they deserve. 
Scripts must be in standard screenplay format & have 
copyright or be registered w/ the WGA. Entry & release 
form must be sent w/ each screenplay. Entry fee: $45. 
Deadline: April 30. Pri zes: 1st, Bert Remsen Memorial 
Scholarship of $1,000 & performed readings in Los 
Angeles & Seattle; 2nd, Scholarship of $500. For more info, 
release form, or appl., visit: www.geocities.com/ Ihprods. 

MONTEREY COUNTY FILM COMMISSION SCREENWRIT- 
ING CONTEST. Open to writers who have not yet sold 
scripts to Hollywood. All genres & locations accepted, 
contest limited to first 500 entries. First prize: $1,500. 
Deadlines: Jan. 31. Entry fee: $50. Rules & entry forms 
avail, on website or send s.a.s.e. to: MCFC, Box 111, 
Monterey, CA 93942; (831) 646-0910; mryfilm@ 
aol.com; www.filmmonterey.com 



Newsreel Workshops 



AMERICAN SCREENWRITERS 
ASSOCIATION is sponsoring 
new contest, dedicated to find- 
ing, "the most heartwarming, 
soulful story of the year." Grand 
Prize: $500, script consultation & 
dinner w/ Richard Krevolin, USC 
Screenwriting Professor & author of 
Screenwnting from the Soul. Entry 
fee: $25/ASA menbers; $35/non- 
members; Deadline: Feb. 29. 
Contact: ASA, Box 12860, Cincinnati, 
OH 45212; (513) 731-9212; johnj@ 
asascreenwriters.com; 
www.asascreenwriters.com 



The Third World Newsreel Film & 
Video Production Workshop is now 
in its 24th year. This unique program 
provides practical skills and 
resources for emerging film/video 
makers of color who have limited access to mainstream training programs. 
The intensive program lasts five months and focuses on the preproduction, 
production, and postproduction skills necessary to take a project from con- 
ception to completion. Each participant will ultimately produce, write, 
direct, and edit two shorts: a digital video and a 16mm non-sync sound 
film. Participants are also required to serve as a technical crew member on 
at least four other video and film projects. All instructors and guest speak- 
ers are experienced professionals currently working in the field of film and 
Mders. See Listing. 



NTV-FILM SCREENPLAY CONTEST for feature- 
length scripts. All genres accepted. Winning 
script will be purchased for production by NTV 
(you must have rights). Send script w/ $40 
entry fee payable to NTV, 21 Central Park West, 
Ste. IT, NY, NY 10023. 

OUROBOROS PRODUCTIONS SCREENWRIT- 
ING CONTEST is open to anyone w/ a creative 
vision & a feature-length work. All genres wel- 
come. Grand prize: $2,000. Submission fee: 
$30. Deadline: Feb. 28. For rules & guidlines, 
an application & synopsis form, visit web site. 
Contact: Ouroboros Productions, 236 W. Portal 
Ave., Box #338, San Francisco, CA 94127; 
www.ouroborosproductions.com 



AUSTIN FILM FESTIVAL HEART OF FILM SCREENPLAY 
COMPETITION: Call for entries. Three feature cats: adult/ 
mature themes, children/family & comedy. Awards: cash 
prizes, airfare (up to $500), hotel accomm. (up to $500), 
VIP pass to Heart of Film Screenwriters Conference (Oct. 
12-19), Heart of Film Bronzed Award. Entry fee: $40. 
Deadline: May 15. Contact: (800) 310-FEST; austin- 
film@ aol.com; www.austinfilmfestival.org 

BROADCAST EDUCATION ASSOCIATION NATIONAL STU- 
DENT SCRIPT-WRITING COMPETITION is designed to 
promote & recognize outstanding student scripts in cate- 
gories of feature film, short film & TV series. All fuli & 
part-time students, undergrad or graduate, in U.S. insti- 
tutions of higher education. Awards: $200 check, soft- 
ware, book of choice from Focal Press. Deadline: Jan. 
Contact: Broadcast Education Assoc.; Dept. of Comm., CA 
State Univ., Fullerton, CA 92834; (714) 278-5399; fax: 



sional actors. Writer chosen receives copy of Final Draft 
software & is interviewed by lntheBiz.net, a web site & 
private networking org for assistants in entertainment 
industry to agents & producers looking for new talent. 
Awards: Final Draft Software, professional reading, inter- 
view w/ lntheBiz.net. Deadline: monthly. Entry fee: $25. 
For appl. see web site. For rules & submission info con- 
tact: Drama Garage Thursday Night Script Reading Series, 
1861 N. Whitley, Ste. 205, Los Angeles, CA 90028; (323) 
993-5700; www.dramagarage.com 

EGIPOW FILMFEST accepts all genres incl. docs, narra- 
tives, experimental & animated works, both feature- 
length & short. Winning feature & short screened in a 
mainstream theater. Deadline: Feb. 15. Formats: 8mm, 
16mm, 35mm, 70mm. Entry fees: $25 (short); $35 (fea- 
ture). Contact: Egipow Films, 7225 Hollywood Blvd., Ste. 
316, Los Angeles, CA 90046; egipow@aol.com 



PAGETURNERS SCREENPLAY CONTEST: All 

entrants receive pro critique. Deadline: Feb 15. 
Winner gets $375 & agency recommendations. 
Entry fees: $75 (features); $25 (shorts). 
Contact: (323) 252-4243; screenfate@aol.com 



SCRIPTAPALOOZA 3RD ANNUAL SCREENWRITING 
COMPETITION. Grand prize $25,000. Deadlines: post- 
marked Jan. 5 (early, $40), Mar. 5 (first deadline, $45), 
April 16 (late entry, $50). Contact: 7775 Sunset Blvd. 
PMB #200, Hollywood, CA 90046; (323) 654-5809; 
info@scriptapalooza.com 

VIDEO SHORTS ANNUAL COMPETITION seeks short 
videos for juried screenings open to public. 10 entries 
chosen as winners; top 2 receive $100, other 8 receive 
$50, plus any revenue received from rental or sales. Max. 
length: 6 min. Entry fee: $20; add $10 (for each addition- 
al entry on same cassette); max. 3 entries per entrant. All 
entries must incl. entry form. Tapes & boxes must be 
labeled w/ name, titles & running times. Formats: 3/4", 
3/4" SR VHS (PAL or SECAM), S-VHS. DV. Incl. s.a.s.e. for 



54 THE INDEPENDENT January/February 2001 



tape return. Deadline: postmarked 1st Sat. in Feb. (annu- 
ally). Contact: Video Shorts, Box 20295, Seattle, WA 
98102; (206) 322-9010. www.videoshorts.com 

Conferences • Workshops 

8th int'l film financing conference announces 

ANNUAL OPEN DAY: Jan 12, San Francisco, a full day of 
panels & networking opportunities w/ key int'l film 
financiers & buyers. The only day of IFFCON w/ registra- 
tion open to the public. Topics include: "Pitch Perfect: 
How to Sell Your Idea" & "Funding the Future: The Digital 
Wave." Registration fee: $150. Info & registration: (415) 
281-9777; www.iffcon.com 

FROM TODAY A CONFERENCE OF ELECTRONICALLY 
MEDIATED DOC WORK. March 15-17. Providence, Rl. 
Hosted by Brown University's Scholarly Technology Group. 
Conference for doc producers & publishers focusing on 
new technologies for fieldwork, production & distribution. 
Conference includes panel discussions & presentations of 
new doc work & practical seminars addressing tech- 
niques & strategies facilitated by electronic tools. Seeking 
participation from anyone interested in presenting or dis- 
cussing their electronically mediated doc work. Contact: 
(401) 863-9313; fromtoday@brown.edu; www.stg. 
brown.edu/conferences/fromtoday 

THIRD WORLD NEWSREEL 2001 FILM & VIDEO PRO- 
DUCTION WORKSHOP Workshop emphasizes training & 
support of people of color who have limited resourses. 
Intensive 5 month program focuses on preproduction, 
production & postproduction. Primary objective to have 
each member produce, write, direct & edit 2 projects. 
Workshop begins April. Prior film/video experience recom- 
mended but not required. Cost of workshop is $500. 
Deadline: Jan. 12. Contact: Third World Newsreel, 545 8th 
Ave., 10th fl., New York, NY 10018; (212) 947-9277; fax 
594-6417; twn@twn.org; www.twn.org 

Films • Tapes Wanted 

arizona state university art museum short 

FILM & VIDEO FESTIVAL, Late April, AZ. Fest is a one- 
night outdoor event. All cats (animation, b/w, experimen- 
tal), entries should be under 10 min. Awards are in name 
only: Jurors Award & LeBlanc Audience Choice Award. 
Entries will be listed on fest web site & will become a 
part of the museum's video library. Preview & format: 
VHS, submit s.a.s.e. for return. No entry fee. Contact: 
ASU Fest, John D. Spiak, Curatorial Museum Specialist, 
ASU Art Museum, 10th St. & Mill Ave., Tempe, AZ 85287; 
(480) 965-2787; fax: 965-5254; spiak@asu.edu; 
www.asuam.fa.asu.edu/filmfest/main.htm 

AXLEGREASE, Buffalo, NY cable access program of ind. 
film & video, accepting all genres under 28 min. on 1/2", 
3/4", 8mm, Hi-8. Send labeled w/ name, address, title, 
length, additional info & s.a.s.e. for tape return to: 
Squeaky Wheel, 175 Elmwood Ave., Buffalo, NY 14201; 
(716) 884-7172; squeaky@pce.net 

BIJOU MATINEE is a showcase for independent shorts. 
Program appears weekly on Channel 35 leased access 
Manhattan Cable South (below 86th St.) every Sat. at 
2:30 p.m. Submissions welcome & should be 25 min. or 
less. VHS, 3/4", or DV. Send copies to Bijou Matinee, Box 
649, New York, NY 10159; (212) 505-3649; 
www.BijouMatinee.com 



SON VIDA PICTURES 

41 UNION SQUARE WEST 
NEW YORK CITY 




212 242-9585 



Film-Video 



The University of Miami 
School of Communication seeks a 



ASSISTANT PROFESSOR 



to teach undergraduate and graduate 

screenwriting for the academic year 

commencing August, 2001. 

The applicant should be competent in 
writing for motion pictures and television. 
A terminal degree, professional credits and 
teaching experience are required. Salary is 

competitive and commensurate with 

qualifications and experience. The search 

will remain open until the position is filled. 



Send resume to: 
Professor Paul Lazarus 

University of Miami 

School of Communication 

P.O. Box 248127 

Coral Gables, Florida 33124-2030 

pla7.arus@miami.edu 



The University of Miami is an equal opportunity/affirmative action employer 
and encourages applications from minorities and women. 



January/Februan 2001 THE INDEPENDENT 55 



BROOKLYN ARTS EXCHANGE accepting short 16mm films 
& videos (under 30 min.) by NYC artists tor Independent 
Film & Video Series. Any genre/subject matter. Deadline: 
ongoing. Send tapes & s.a.s.e. to: Independent Film & 
Video Series, Brooklyn Arts Exchange, 421 5th Ave., 
Brooklyn, NY 11215; Info/details: (718) 832-0018 x. 8. 

FINISHING PICTURES accepting shorts, feature works- 
in-progress & web films seeking distribution or exposure 
to financial resources for CLIPS, a quarterly showcase 
presented to invited audience of industry professionals. 
All productions should be digital. Deadline: ongoing. 
Contact: Tommaso Fiacchino, (212) 971-5846; www. 
finishingpictures.com 

FIREWATER FILMS, only year-round short film series in 
NYC, seeks short film submissions (cats: narrative, doc, 
animation & experimental). Films shown on both VHS & 
16mm formats at Big Top Theater. Contact: Firewater 
Films, Box 20039, NY, NY 10025; (212) 414-5419; fax: 
724-8190; www.firewaterfilms.com 

NEW CASTLE COMMUNITY TV STATION in Chappaqua, 
NY offering video producers the opportunity to cablecast 
their projects. Preferrably New Castle or Westchester res- 
idents, although not req. Contact: NCCTV@hotmail.com 

IMAGENATION: Established in 1997 imagenation, a 
Harlem-based int'l cinema & music test, is seeking short 
cinematic works (35 min. or less) of all genres, subjects 
& styles created by makers of Afnkan descent. Films & 
videos are screened monthly by theme. Some themes for 
2001 will incl. Diaspora Daughters Represent! (a 
women's history month celebration); Animation Nation; 
Nuyorican Soul (Latino/a films); Reel Revolution (political 
films) & many more. Download appl. from the web site. 
Send a VHS copy, synopsis, bio, s.a.s.e. & submission 
fee to: imagenation film festival, College Station, Box 
127, New York, NY 10027. Contact: Moikgantsi Kgama, 
Fest Dir. (212) 631-1189; het heru@hotmail.com; 
www.imagenation-films.com 

INDUSTRIAL TV: cutting-edge cable access show is look- 
ing for experimental, narrative, humorous, dramatic, ani- 
mation & underground works for inclusion in fall season. 
Controversial, uncensored & subversive material encour- 
aged. Guaranteed exposure in NYC area. Contact: Edmund 
Varuolo, c/o 2droogies productions, Box 020206, Staten 
Island, NY 10302; www.2droogies.com 

KQED-TV, public TV serving San Francisco/Oakland/San 
Jose, looking for independent docs & dramas 6-30 min. 
for broadcast acquisition. Contact: Scott Dwyer, (415) 
553-2218; sdwyer@kqed.org 

MICROCINEMA, INC./BLACKCHAIR PRODUCTIONS accept- 
ing short video, film & digital-media submissions of 30 min. 
or less on ongoing basis for monthly screening program 
"Independent Exposure." Looking for short, experimental, 
narrative, avant-garde, subversive, alternative, erotic, ani- 
mation, underground, etc. Works selected may qualify for our 
DVD/VHS home video compilations as well as netcasting via 
microcinema.com. Submit VHS or S-VHS (NTSC preferred) 
clearly labeled filmmaker info & support materials incl. pho- 
tos to Microcinema, Inc., 2318 2nd Ave., PMB 313-A, 
Seattle, WA 98121; Info/details: (206) 568-6051; info® 
microcinema.com; www.microcinema.com 

MUSIC VIDEOS WANTED. Submit original music videos for 
a super series for the electromagnetic spectrum. Any 



genre or subject. Amateurs, students & professionals wel- 
come. Submit VHS cassette, email address, & s.a.s.e. for 
return materials to: Grrrowl Productions, 24 Walker Dr., 
Belle Mead, NJ 08502; grrrowlproductions@ yahoo.com; 
www.geocities.com/grrrowlproductions/ 

OCULARIS seeks submissions from independent film- 
makers for continuing series. Works under 15 min. con- 
sidered for Sunday night screenings where they precede 
evening's feature, plus brief Q & A w/ audience. Works 
longer than 15 min. considered for regular group shows of 
independent filmmakers. Only show works on 16mm w/ 
optical track. Send films, together w/ completed entry 
form (download from web site) to: Short Film Curator, 
Ocularis, Galapagos Art & Performance Space, 70 N. 6th 
St.. Brooklyn, NY 11211; ph/fax: (718) 388-8713; 
ocularis@billburg.com; www.billburg.com/ocularis 

OPEN CALL 2001: The Independent Television Service 
(ITVS) considers proposals for innovative programs of 
standard broadcast lengths for public television twice a 
year for Open Call. ITVS seeks provocative, compelling 
stories from diverse points of view & diverse communi- 
ties. No finished works. Projects in any genre (animation, 
drama, doc, experimental) or in any stage of development 
will be considered. Programs should tell a great story, 
break traditional molds of exploring cultural, political, 
social or economic issues, take creative risks, or give 
voice to those not usually heard. Download applications & 
guidlines at web site. Deadline: Feb. 15. Contact: (415) 
356-8383 x. 232; Beky_Hayes@itvs.org; www.itvs.org 

PBS SEEKS SUBMISSIONS FOR 2001 INDEPENDENT 
LENS. Independent Lens expands opportunities for audi- 
ences to see original & provocative work on topics often 
ignored by commercial TV. As part of PBS, Independent 
Lens programs gain nat'l recognition & the many benefits 
of the PBS logo. Currently, a licensing fee is not avail, for 
programs being accepted into the series. Filmmakers may 
incur miscellaneous packaging & promotional fees neces- 
sary to bring the program to air. While works of all lengths 
are accepted, please keep standard PBS lengths in mind, 
which may necessitate edits. Deadline: March 15. Send 
materials to: Cheryl A. Jones PBS, Independent Lens, 
1320 Braddock PL, Alexandria, VA 22314; (703) 739- 
5010; carapub@aol.com: www.pbs.org/independentlens 

REEL ALTERNATIVE FILM SALON; Brooklyn's original 
microcinema featuring indie filmmakers of color, seeks film & 
script submissions for second season. All genres & formats 
welcome. Special interest in female action flicks for March & 
animation for April. Film (submitted on VHS) & script sub- 
missions must incl. synopsis, bio & $10 (check/m.o.). Films 
screened monthly & scripts staged quarterly. Contact: (718) 
670-3616; www.ighmultimedia.com 

SOUTHWEST ALTERNATIVE MEDIA PROJECT (SWAMP) is 
looking for possible inclusion in 25th season of The 
Territory, the longest-running PBS showcase of indepen- 
dent film/video in the country. Recent works under 30 
min. in all genres that are avail, for non-exclusive, 
statewide (Texas) broadcast btwn. Oct. 2000-Sept. 2001. 
Send VHS (NTSC) copy of work, brief synopsis & film- 
maker bio to: SWAMR 1519 W. Main, Houston, TX 77006; 
(713) 522-8592; swamp@swamp.org; www.swamp.org 

THE SHORT LIST, the showcase for American & int'l short 
films, airs nat'ly on PBS. Pays $100/min. All genres, 30 sec. 
to 19 min. long. Produced in assoc. w/ Kodak Worldwide 



Independent Filmmakers Program. Awards five Kodak prod- 
uct grants annually to selected filmmakers on series. Sub- 
mit on VHS. For appl., send s.a.s.e. to: Jack Ofield, Dir., 
Production Center, SDSU, 5500 Campanile Dr., San Diego, 
CA 92182; ShortList@mail.sdsu.edu; www.theshortlist.ee 

THIRD WORLD NEWSREEL, one of oldest alternative 
media organizations in U.S., seeking film & video submis- 
sions of short & feature length docs, narratives, experi- 
mental & other works attentive to intersections of race, 
class & gender. Projects that address other issues of 
political & social interest also welcome. Formats: 1/2" 
VHS tapes. Send submissions, synopsis of the film & 
director's bio to: Third World Newsreel, Attn: Noel Shaw, 
545 Eighth Ave., New York, NY 10018; (212) 947-9277; 
fax: 594-6417; twn@twn.org; www.twn.org 

WGBH-TV, BOSTON: WGBH is committed to supporting 
indie filmmakers, incl. those who may never have consid- 
ered local TV broadcast. Looking for films & videos to be 
part of ongoing local ind. film series Viewpoint, which 
showcases works from New England & around the world. 
Films selected for broadcast will receive honorarium. 
Tapes accompanied by s.a.s.e. will be returned. 
Broadcast masters formats: DigiBeta, Beta SR D5 or D3. 
Cannot accept programming produced for public access 
cable. Send VHS screening copies of your doc, narrative 
film, or animation (no length req.) to: Chad Davis, 
Viewpoint, WGBH-TV, 125 Western Ave., Boston, MA 
02134; (617) 300-2647; chad_davis@wgbh.org 

Publications 

CANYON CINEMA announces publication of major new 
catalog of avant-garde /experimental films & video tapes 
for rent & sale. 500-page volume of the Canyon Cinema 
Catalog 2000 (#8). contains 285 illustrations & 
describes more than 3,500 works of cinematic art by 370 
filmmakers. Also 25th Anniv. Catalog (incl. 1993-5 sup- 
plements) w/ over 3,500 film & video titles is avail, for 
$20. ph/fax: (415) 626-2255; canyoncinema@usa.net; 
www.canyoncinema.com 

INDEPENDENT PRESS ASSOCIATION: Find an indepen- 
dent audience! The IPA's new directory to independent 
magazine world can give you the name & number of the 
editor you need. For just $24.95 (plus $3.05 S&H) 
Annotations: A Guide To The Independent Press can open 
up a world of diverse & exciting contacts. For order send 
check to: IPA, 2390 Mission St., #201, San Francisco, CA 
94110; (415) 634-4401; www.indypress.org 

VOLUNTEER LAWYERS FOR THE ARTS offer seminars on 
"Copyright Basics," "Nonprofit Incorporation & Tax 
Exemption" & more. Reservations must be made. 
Contact: (212) 319-2910. 

Resources • Funds 

ARTS LINK COLLABORATIVE PROJECTS allow U.S. 
artists and arts orgs to undertake projects overseas with 
colleagues in Central & Eastern Europe with grants from 
$2,500-$10,000. Applicants must be citizens or perma- 
nent residents of U.S. Deadline: postmarked by Jan. 18. 
Contact: Arts Link, CEC International Partners, 12 W. 31 
St., New York, NY 10001; artslink@cecip.org 

CALIFORNIA CH MEDIA PROGRAM PLANNING GRANTS 

provide up to $750 to support development of major grant 



56 THE INDEPENDENT January/February 2001 



proposal & to pay for background research, consultations 
w/ humanities scholars & community reps, travel & simi- 
lar activities necessary to develop proposal. Before apply- 
ing, consult w/ CA Council for Humanities staff. Deadline: 
Aug. 1. Contact: CCH, 312 Sutter St., Ste. 601, San 
Francisco, CA 94108; (415) 391-1474; in LA: (213) 623- 
5993; in San DiegO: (619) 232-4020; www.calhum.org 

CALIFORNIA ARTS COUNCIL offers various grants & pro- 
grams for performing arts. Contact: CA Arts Council, 1300 
1 St, Ste. 930, Sacramento, CA 95814; (916) 322-6555; 
(800) 201-6201; fax: 322-6575; cac@cwo.com; 
www.cac.ca.gov. 

COMPOSER CONTACT ON-LINE CATALOGUE: Har- 
vestworks Digital Media Center presents interactive data- 
base to learn more about composers who can be commis- 
sioned to write & record compositions for various projects. 
MP3 samples & biographical info can be accessed. 
Contact: harvestw@dti.net; www.harvestworks.org 

CONVERGENCE 2001 INTERNATIONAL ARTS FESTIVAL 
SEPT. 8-24: Providence Parks Dept., Office of Cultural 
Affairs seeks assorted media/mixed-media proposals. 
Work will be installed throughout downtown area. Work 
must be weather-resistant & able to withstand public 
interaction. All proposals must be accompanied by sam- 
ples of recent work — not to exceed 20 slides — reviews & 
resume. Requests for funding not to exceed $2,000. 
Materials returned w/ s.a.s.e. w/ proper postage. 
Deadline: Jan. 15. Contact: Providence Parks Dept, Office 
of Cultural Affairs, 400 Westminster St, 4th Fl. 
Providence, Rl 02903; (401) 621-1992; info@ 
caparts.org; www.caparts.org 

DONNELL MEDIA CENTER OF THE NEW YORK PUBLIC 
LIBRARY accepting proposals for video installation in 
street-level display window exhibited for entire month of 
June 2001. Submissions celebrating Gay & Lesbian Pride 
Month welcome. Work must be silent. Budget range 
should be incl. w/ proposal. Deadline: Jan. 31. Send pro- 
posals to: Joseph Yranski, Donnell Media Center, 20 W. 
53rd St., New York, NY 10019. 

EASTMAN SCHOLARS PROGRAM: Colleges & Univs. in 
U.S. & Canada which offer a BA/BS/BFA, MA/MFA in film 
or film production may nominate 2 students for $5,000 
scholarships. Deadline: June 15. For nomination form, 
write to: Int'l Doc. Association, 1551 S. Robertson Blvd., 
Ste. 201, Los Angeles, CA 90035. 

FUND FOR JEWISH DOCUMENTARY FILMMAKING offers 

grants up to $50,000 for production/completion of original 
films & videos that interpret Jewish history, culture & 
identity to diverse public audiences. Applicants must be 
U.S. citizens or permanent residents. Priority given to 
works-in-progress that address critical issues, combine 
artistry & intellectual clarity, can be completed within 1 
year of award & have broadcast potential. Deadline: April 
4. Contact: Nat'l Foundation for Jewish Culture, 330 7th 
Ave., 12th fl., NY, NY 10001; (212) 629-0500 x. 205. 

JOHN D. & CATHERINE T. MACARTHUR FOUNDATION 

provides partial support to selected doc series & films 
intended for nat'l or int'l broadcast & focusing on an issue 
in one of Foundation's 2 major programs (Human & 
Community Development; Global Security & 
Sustainability). Send prelim. 2- to 3-pg letter to: John D. 
& Catherine T. MacArthur Foundation, 140 S. Dearborn 



VI 



training 



digital/non-linear editing 



Beginning, intermediate, and 
advanced classes are offered 
monthly. 



The Wexner Center for the Arts 
is an Avid Authorized Education 
Center serving Ohio, Indiana, 
Michigan, Western Pennsylvania, 
and Kentucky. 

Call for more information 

Maria Troy, 674 292-7617 

wexner center for the arts 

the ohio state university 
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columbus, ohio 43210 
www.wexarts.org 



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l.uuun Februan 2001 THE INDEPENDENT 57 



(uj^-ajas) 




\^|> r bHI«IUI« bll«EI«IH -•"wirjniv'- bHIHLUU CUUU '^^JSS 

SflW Canyon Cinema proudly announces the publication of a 500 page completely illustrated f$jtJ 

catalog that contains descriptions of more than 3500 avant garde films and video tapes for sale 

and rent from 350 experimental filmmakers. To request a copy, please send a check for 

$35, plus $6 postage (international shipping is higher) to: 

Canyon Cinema, Inc., 2325 Third Street #338, San Francisco, CA 94107 
phone/fax 415-626-2255 vuwvu.canyoncinema.com filivis@canyoncinema.com 



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A Sekani Company 
Ph: 212.799.9100 Fx: 212.799.9258 VAnwv.hotshotscoolcuts.com dips@filmclip.com 



The World's Greatest Contemporary & Archival Stock Footage Library 



St., Ste. 1100, Chicago, IL 60603; (312) 726-8000; 
4answers@macfdn.org; www.macfdn.org 

LINCS 2001 (LOCAL INDEPENDENTS COLLABORAT- 
ING WITH STATIONS), a funding initiative from the 
Independent Television Service (ITVS), provides incen- 
tive or matching monies ($10,000-$75,000) for part- 
nerships between public TV stations & independent pro- 
ducers. Projects in any stage of development will be 
considered. Programs should tell a great story, stimu- 
late civic discourse & break traditional molds of explor- 
ing complex cultural, political, social or economic 
issues. Indie film & videomakers are encouraged to 
seek partnerships with their local public television sta- 
tions. Download appls. at web site. Cats: any. Deadline: 
April 30. Contact: (415) 356-8383 x. 230; 
Heidi_Schuster@itvs.org; www.itvs.org 

MEDIA GRANTS AVAILABLE TO INDIVIDUALS & ORGANI- 
ZATIONS IN NEW YORK STATE. The Experimental TV 
Center provides support to electronic media & film artists 
& organizations in New York State. We provide finishing 
funds of up to $1,500. Cats: all. Applicants must be res- 
idents of NY State. Deadline: March 15. We provide pre- 
sentation funds to not-for-profit orgs in NY. Deadline: 
ongoing. The Media Arts Technical Assistance Fund is 
designed to help nonprofit media arts programs in New 
York State. Up to $2,000 per project. Orgs must be receiv- 
ing support from New York State Council of the Arts 
Electronic Media & Film Program. Deadlines: Jan. 1, April 
1, July 1, & Oct. 1. For all funds contact: Sherry Miller 
Hocking, Experimental TV Center, 109 Lower Fairfield Rd., 
Newark Valley, NY 13811; (607) 687-4341; etc@experi 
mentaltvcenter.org; www.experimentaltvcenter.org 

NATIONAL ENDOWMENT FOR THE HUMANTIES: Summer 
seminars & institutes for college & univ. teachers. 
Seminars incl. 15 participants working in collaboration w/ 
1 or 2 leading scholars. Institutes provide intensive col- 
laborative study of texts, historical periods & ideas to 
undergrad teaching in humanities. Detailed info & appl. 
materials are avail, from project directors. Contact: (202) 
606-8463; sem-inst@neh.gov; www.neh.gov 

NATIONAL ENDOWMENT FOR THE HUMANITIES Division 
of Public Programs provides grants for the planning, 
scripting & production of film, television & digital media 
projects that address humanities themes. Download 
appl. guidelines from web site. Deadline: Feb. 22. (202) 
606-8267; publicpgms@neh.org; www.neh.gov/html/ 
guidelin/pub_prog.html 

NATIONAL GEOGRAPHIC TELEVISION seeking story pro- 
posals from U.S. citizen or permanent resident minority 
filmmakers for National Geographic Explorer, award-win- 
ning doc series. To request appl. for CDP (Cultural 
Diversity Project) call: (202) 775-7860. 

NATIONAL LATINO COMMUNICATIONS CENTER is a 

media arts production resource center that supports, 
produces & syndicates Latino programming for public TV. 
Purpose is to empower Latinos in U.S. throughout broad- 
cast comm. media. To that end, its mission is to: provide 
to the nation quality programming which illuminates 
diversity of nat'l Latino ethos through expressions of its 
arts, cultures & histories; provide training & related 
assistance to develop & support Latino media talent 
whose creative visions will transform Latino experience 
into compelling images of a people. Contact: NLCC. 3171 



58 THE INDEPENDENT January/February 2001 



Los Feliz Blvd., Ste 200, LA, CA 90039; (213) 663-5606; 
www.nlcc.com/ 

NEWENGLANDFILM.COM is a unique on-line resource 
that provides local film & video professionals w/ search- 
able industry directory, listings of local events, screen- 
ings, jobs, calls for entries & upcoming productions, in 
addition to filmmaker interviews & industry news. 
Reaching over 11,000 visitors each month. All articles & 
listings on sites free to read: www.nefilm.com 

NEWPROJECT.NET provides a new vehicle for producers 
in search of partnerships, financing & distribution for pro- 
jects. On-line database of projects presentations in 
development, production, or recently completed, site is a 
place where pros can "publish" & announce copyrighted 
projects & present them to programming execs, distrib. 
companies, potential underwriters, investors, etc. 

NEW YORK STATE COUNCIL ON THE ARTS Individual 
Artists Program announces availability of production 
funds for video, radio, audio, installation work & comput- 
er-based art. Maximum award $25,000. Artist must also 
be sponsored by nonprofit organization. Deadline: March 
1. Contact: Don Palmer: NYSCA, 915 Broadway, 8th fl. 
New York, NY 10010; (212) 387-7063; dpalmer@ 
nysca.org 

NEXT WAVE FILMS, funded by the Independent Film 
Channel, was est. to provide finishing funds & other vital 
support to emerging filmmakers with low-budget, 
English-language features from U.S. & abroad. Selected 
films receive assistance with postproduction, imple- 
menting a fest strategy & securing distribution. Through 
Agenda 2001, exceptionally talented filmmakers with an 



established body of work can receive production financ- 
ing & assistance for features shot on digital video & 
intended for theatrical release. Both fiction & non-fiction 
films considered for finishing funds & Agenda 2001. 
Contact: Next Wave Films, 2510 7th St., Ste. E, Santa 
Monica, CA 90405. (310) 392-1720; fax: 399-3455; 
launch@nextwave films.com; www.nextwavefilms.com 

OCTOBER EVENT GRANTS: NY Council for the Humanities 
celebrates State Humanities Month (Oct.), a celebration of 
history, culture & human imagination w/ awards for local 
programming reflecting diversity of humanities institutions 
& subjects. Deadline: May 1. Contact: NYCH, 150 
Broadway, Ste. 1700, NY, NY 10038; (212) 233-1131; fax: 
233-4607; hum@echonyc.com; www.culturefront.org 

OPPENHEIMER CAMERA: new filmmaker grant equip, 
program offers access to pro 16mm camera system for 
first serious new productions. Purely commercial projects 
not considered. Provides camera on year-round basis. No 
appl. deadline, but allow 10 week minimum for process- 
ing. Contact: Film Grant, Oppenheimer Camera, 666 S. 
Plummer St., Seattle, WA 98134; (206) 467-8666; fax: 
467-9165; filmgrant@oppenheimercamera.com 

PANAVISION'S NEW FILMMAKER PROGRAM provides 
16mm camera pkgs. to short, nonprofit film projects of 
any genre, incl. student thesis films. Send s.a.s.e. w/ 
550 stamp to: Kelly Simpson, New Filmmaker Program, 
Panavision, 6219 DeSoto Ave., Woodland Hills, CA 
91367. 

SCRIPTS WANTED FOR INDEPENDENT FILM ACTING 
CLASSES. See your scenes shot on real locations with our 



actors trained specifically for Independent films. Use this 
as a way to rewrite your scripts & scenes. Send to: The 
Acting Factory, 38 S. Federal Hwy, Dania, FL 33004. 

SOROS DOCUMENTARY FUND supports int'l doc films & 
videos on current & significant issues in human rights, 
freedom of expression, social justice & civil liberties. 2 
project categories: initial seed funds (grants up to 
$15,000), projects in production or post (average grant 
$25,000, but max. $50,000). Highly competitive. Contact: 
Soros Doc Fund, Open Society Institute, 400 W. 59th St., 
NY, NY 10019; (212) 548-0657; www.soros.org/sdf 

STANDBY PROGRAM provides artists & nonprofits access 
to broadcast quality video postproduction services at dis- 
counted rates. For rate card & appl. contact: Standby 
Program, Box 184, NY, NY 10012; (212) 219-0951; fax: 
219-0563; www.standby.org 

THIRD ANNUAL CHICAGO UNDERGROUND FILM FUND: 

$500-$2,000 postproduction completion grant for any 
length & genre on super 8, 16mm or 35mm. Emphasis 
placed on works that fit CUFF's mission to promote films 
& videos that innovate in form or content. Deadline: Feb. 
5. Contact: CUFF, 3109, N. Western Ave., Chicago, IL 
60618; (773) 327-FILM; info@cuff.org; www.cuff.org 

WRITERS/PRODUCERS: Faith & Values Media (provides 
30 hrs/wk faith-based shows for the Odyssey Network) is 
granting up to $300,000 in awards for new 
scripts/series/proposals on women's spiritual journeys. 
Appls. due Feb. 28; www.faithandvaluesmedia.com 



Got DOCS?., 

We are looking for high-quality documentaries in all subject areas for international 
broadcast distribution. CS Associates has specialized in sales and pre-sales of 
documentary programs for the past twenty years. We represent a wide variety of 
programs and producers ranging from Ken Burns to Jon Else to Martin Scorcese. 
We would like to hear about your latest production. 

Please review our catalogue on our website www.csassociates.com 







22 Weston Road, Lincoln, Massachusetts 01773 
tel: 78 1 .259.9988 fax: 78 1 .259.9966 
e-mail: programs@csassociates.com 

Send VHS submissions to Brian Gilbert, Director of Acquisitions 



Final Cut Pro 

Nonlinear Editing 

Beta SP, DV, DVCAM, 
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1123 Broadway, Suite S14- 
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www.earthvideo.net 

212-223-4-254 



January/Februar, 2001 THE INDEPENDENT 



DEADLINE: 1ST OF EACH MONTH, 2 MONTHS PRIOR TO 
COVER DATE (E.G. MARCH 1 FOR MAY ISSUE).CONTACT: 
FAX: 212-463-8519; scott@aivf.org. PER ISSUE COST: 

0-240 CHARACTERS (INCL. SPACES & PUNCTUATION) 
$45 FOR NONMEMBERS/$30 FOR AIVF MEMBERS 

241-360 CHARACTERS: 
$65 FOR N0NMEMBERS/$45 FOR AIVF MEMBERS 

361-480 CHARACTERS: 
$80 FOR NONMEMBERS/$60 FOR AIVF MEMBERS 

481-600 CHARACTERS: 
$95 FOR NONMEMBERS/$75 FOR AIVF MEMBERS 

OVER 600 CHARACTERS: 
CALL FOR QUOTE: 212-807-1400 x. 229 

frequency discount: 
$5 off per issue for ads running 5 + times. 

ads over specified length will be edited. copy 
should be typed & accompanied by check or 
money order payable to: fivf, 304 hudson st., 
6th fl, new york, ny 10013. include billing 
address; daytime phone; # of issues; and valid 
member id# for member discount. to pay by visa 
/mc/amex incl. card #■ name on card; exp date. 

Buy* Rent • Sell 

101 AVID TRAINING FOR DUMMIES: 1-on-l Avid hands 
on training. Learn Avid editing plus create own logo & 
demo reel in 1 class for only $499! ($799 for 2). All-inclu- 
sive, a.m. or p.m., 7 days/wk, midtown NYC. Call Pro Avid 
101 Now: (212) 695- 



A BREAD CRUMB TRAIL THROUGH THE PBS JUNGLE: 

The Producer's Complete Survival Guide. Vital guide to 
alliances, funding & distrib. for your films. Used by PBS, 
CPB & stations nationwide. Inside secrets, in-depth info, 
practical worksheets. $34.95 + $5.00 S/H (AIVF mem- 
bers take 10% off); Dendrite Forest Books on-line pur- 
chase: www.forests.com/breadcrumb or RO. Box 912, 
Topanga. CA 90290. 

AVID AVAILABLE WITH EDITOR: Digital Camera package & 
Avid classes. Good prices. Call or fax: (212) 794-1982. 

AVID OFF-LINE FOR RENT: MC 7.1, Powermac 9600, 33 
gigs memory, two 20" Mitsubishi monitors, 14" Trinitron 
monitor, 16 Ch Mackie mixer. Avid tech support. Free set 
up in NYC area. Call Howard (914) 271-4161. 

DP W/ CANON XL-1; BETA-SP DECK RENTAL avail. I 
shoot all formats: film/video. Non-linear editing w/ all 
video formats. 13 yrs exp w/ Academy Award nomination. 
Affordable rates. DMP Productions (212) 307-9097; 
http://members.tripod.com/~dmpfilm 

FOR RENT: SONY 3 CHIP Digital DV camera plus 
Sennheiser ME 66 shotgun mic, with or without operator. 
$100 per day without operator. Call (212) 966-5489. 

FOR SALE— AVID MEDIA COMPOSER 1000: Ver 5.51, 

Mac Quadra 950, many accessories, $6,900, pics at: 
www.edgewoodstudios.com or call David (802) 773-0510. 

VIDEO DECKS/EDIT SYSTEMS/CAMERAS FOR RENT: I 

deliver! Beta-SP deck (Sony UVW-1800) $150/day, $450/ 
wk. Also, 1:1 Avid Suite, Final Cut, Media 100, DV Cams, 
mics, lights, etc. Production Central (212) 631-0435. 

WANTED TO BUY: Used JK optical printer. All models con- 
sidered. Everything but the camera. (301) 565-3730. 



Distribution 

19 YEARS AS AN INDUSTRY LEADER! Representing out- 
standing video on healthcare, mental health, disabilities 
& related issues. Our films win Oscars, Emmys, Duponts, 
Freddies & more. Join us! Fanlight Productions: (800) 
937-4113; www.fanlight.com 

BROADCAST YOUR FILM on the Internet! 
WhoneedsTV.com is currently accepting submissions for 
independent films. Unlike other sites, you keep all the 
rights and control over your film. info@WhoneedsTV.com 
or (917) 282-2857 for details. 

BUDGETS/BUSINESS PLANS: Full investor packages. 
Experienced line producer will prepare script breakdowns, 
shooting schedules, detailed budgets & business plans. 
Movie Magic equipped. Credit cards OK. Indie rates. Mark 
(212) 340-1243. 

BUYINDIES.COM The founders of NewEnglandFilm.com 
have created another site: Buylndies.com, a community 
to buy & sell independent films. If you have copies of your 
movie available on VHS or DVD, then you can join as a 
seller and list any or all of your titles. Buylndies.com han- 
dles the ecommerce, customer service and promotion; 
you handle the shipping. Filmmakers keep all rights to the 
film. Already over 45,000 titles have been gathered. Find 
out more info at: www.buyindies.com/sell/ or email: 
info@buyindies.com 

EDUCATIONAL DISTRIBUTOR SEEKS GUIDANCE 
VIDEOS on issues such as violence, drug prevention, 
mentoring, children's health & parenting for exclusive dis- 
tribution. Our marketing gives unequaled results! Call 
Sally Germain at The Bureau for At-Risk Youth: (800) 99- 
YOUTH x. 210. 

LOOKING FOR AN EDUCATIONAL DISTRIBUTOR? Consider 
the University of California. We can put 80 years of suc- 
cessful marketing expertise to work for you. Kate Spohr: 
(510) 643-2788; www-cmil.unex.berkeley.edu/media/ 

THE CINEMA GUILD, leading film/video/multimedia dis- 
tributor, seeks new doc, fiction, educational & animation 
programs for distribution. Send videocassettes or discs 
for evaluation to: The Cinema Guild, 130 Madison Ave., 
2nd fl., New York, NY 10016; (212) 685-6242; 
TheCinemaG@ aol.com; Ask for our Distribution Services 
brochure. 

Freelance 

35MM/16MM PROD. PKG w/ DR Complete packagew/ 
DP's own Arri 35BL, 16SR, HMIs, dolly, jib crane, lighting, 
DAT, grip, 5-ton truck. . . more. Ideal 1-source for the low- 
budget producer! Call for reel: Tom Agnello (201) 741- 
4367. 

AATON CAMERA PKG. Absolutely perfect for independent 
features. Top of the line XTR Prod w/ S16, timecode video, 
the works! Exp DP w/ strong lighting & prod skills wants 
to collaborate in telling your story. Andy (212) 501-7862; 
circa@interport.net 

ACCLAIMED AND UNUSUAL instrumental band can pro- 
vide music for your next project. Contact "Magonia" for 
demo: (781) 932-4677; boygirl@mediaone.net; 
www.magonia.com 



ACCOUNTANT/BOOKKEEPER/CONTROLLER: Experience 
in both corporate & nonprofit sectors. Hold MBA in 
Marketing & Accounting. Freelance work sought. Sam 
Sagenkahn (212) 481-3576. 

ANDREW DUNN. Director of Photography/camera opera- 
tor Arri35 BL3, Aaton XTRprod S16, Sony DVCam. 
Experience in features, docs, TV & industrials. Credits: 
Dog Run, Strays, Working Space/Working Light. (212) 
477-0172; AndrewD158@aol.com 

AWARD-WINNING EDITOR, w/Avid and Beta SP facility. 
Features, shorts, docs, music videos, educational, indus- 
trials, demos. Trilingual: Spanish, English, Catalan. Nuria 
Olive-Belles (212) 627-9256. 

BRENDAN C. FLYNT: Director of Photography w/ many 
feature & short film credits. Owns 35 Arri BL3, Super 
16/16 Aaton, HMIs, Tungsten & dolly w/ tracks. Awards at 
Sundance & Raindance. Call for quotes & reel at (212) 
226-8417; www.dp-brendanflynt.com 

CAMERAMAN/ STEADICAM OPERATOR: 35BL, 16SR, 
Beta SR Stereo TC Nagra4, TC FostexPD-4 DAT, feature 
lite pkg. to shoot features, music videos, commercials, 
etc. Call Mik Cribben for info & reel, (212) 929-7728 or 
592-3350. 



CAMERAPERSON: Visual storyteller loves to collaborate, 
explore diverse styles & formats. Brings passion & pro- 
ductivity to your shoot. Award-winner w/ latest 
Super/Std. 16 Aaton XTR prod, package. Todd (718) 222- 
9277; wacass@concentric.net 

CINEMATOGRAPHER w/ Arri SR Super 16 package & 
35IIC, w/ over 15 years in the industry. Credits incl. 2nd 
unit, FX & experimental. Looking for interesting pro- 
jects. Will travel. Theo (212) 774-4157; pager: (213) 
707-6195. 

CINEMATOGRAPHER w/ reg/S-16mm Aaton, video-tap, 
lighting gear & more. Digital video too. Collaborations in 
features, shorts, docs, music videos & other compelling 
visions. Kevin Skvorak, reel & rates (718) 782-9179; 
kevskvk@inx.net 

COMPOSER: Experienced, award-winning Yale conserva- 
tory grad writes affordable music in any style that will 
enhance your project. Save money without compromising 
creativity. Full service digital recording studio. Free demo 
CD/initial consultation/rough sketch. Call Joseph Ruben- 
stein; (212) 242-2691; joe56@earthlink.net 

COMPOSER Miriam Cutler loves to collaborate with film- 
makers — features, docs. Sundance: Licensed To Kill, 
Death A Love Story I Peabody: The Castro I POV-. Double 
Life of Ernesto Gomez Gomez & more (323) 664-1807; 
mircut2@earthlink.net 

COMPOSER: Original music for your film or video project. 
Will work with any budget. Complete digital studio. NYC 
area. Demo CD upon request. Call Ian O'Brien: (201) 222- 
2638; iobrien@bellatlantic.net 

COMPOSER: Perfect music for your project. Orchestral to 
techno — you name it! Credits incl. NFL, PBS, Sundance, 
Absolut. Bach, of Music, Eastman School. Quentin 
Chiappetta (718) 752-9194; (917) 721-0058; qchiap@ 
el.net 

CREATIVE DIRECTOR OF PHOTOGRAPHY w/ lighting 
director background. Specialty films my specialty. Can 



60 THE INDEPENDENT January/February 2001 



give your film that unique "look." 16mm & 35mm pack- 
ages avail. Call Charles for reel: (212) 295-7878. 

DIGITAL VIDEO-Sony VX100 digital camera & camera- 
man, Sennheiser ME 66 shotgun mic, pro accessories. 
Experienced in dance, theater, performance art documen- 
tation & features. Final Cut Pro digital editing with editor 
$125/day. John Newell (212) 677-6652; johnewell® 
earthlink.net 

DIGITAL VIDEO Videographer/DR with Canon XL-1 video- 
cam; prefer documentaries, shorts and less traditional 
projects; documentation for dance, music and perfor- 
mance. Alan Roth (718) 218-8065; (917) 548-4512; 
alanroth@mail.com 

DIGITAL VIDEOGRAPHER with Sony VX-1000 and 
Lectrosonic radio mic. available and happy to shoot doc- 
umentaries and shorts. Contact Melissa (212) 352-4141; 
meliss@rcn.com 

DIRECTOR OF PHOTOGRAPHY: Award-winning, exp, look- 
ing for interesting projects. Credits incl. features, docs & 
commercials in the U.S., Europe & Israel. Own complete 
Aaton Super 16 pkg. & lights. Call Adam for reel. (212) 
932-8255 or (917) 504-7244; nyvardy@worldnet.att.net 

DIRECTOR OF PHOTOGRAPHY: Looking for creative pro- 
jects to lens: features, commercials, shorts, music videos 
& documentaries. 35 and 16mm packages avail. New 
York/Boston-based, will travel. Call for reel: (781) 545- 
2609; bkarol@mediaone.net 

DIRECTOR OF PHOTOGRAPHY looking for interesting fea- 
tures, shorts, ind. projects, etc. Credits incl. features, 
commercials, industrials, short films, music videos. 
Aaton 16/S-16 pkg avail. Abe (718) 263-0010. 

DIRECTOR OF PHOTOGRAPHY w/ Arri 16 & 35BL2 cam- 
era pkgs. Credits incl. many indie features & shorts. 
Create "big film" look on low budget. Flexible rates & I 
work quickly. Willing to travel. Matthew: (617) 244-6730; 
(845) 439-5459; mwdp@rcn.com 

DIRECTOR OF PHOTOGRAPHY with Arri BL 3, Aaton XTR 
Prod S16/16mm, and Canon XL1 camera package is 
ready to shoot your project. Call Jay Silver at (718) 383- 
1325 for a copy of reel, email: hihosliver@earthlink.com 

DOCUMENTARY VIDEOGRAPHER with extensive interna- 
tional experience (Latin America, Africa, Europe & 
Canada). 22 years of experience as director/producer, 
videographer and editor of independent documentaries 
broadcast on CNN International, PBS, Cinemax & CBC. 
Last doc premiered at Sundance Festival. Specializes in 
cinema verite, social issue & multicultural projects. 
Robbie Leppzer, Turning Tide Productions; (800) 557- 
6414; leppzer@turningtide.com; www.turningtide.com. 

DP WITH CAMERA: Client list, package details (cameras 
and editing), view clips/stills. To order reel or contact, 
visit: www.kozma.com 

DV CONSULTANT: Need help w/ Final Cut Pro? Exp. con- 
sultant avail, for training in FCR AfterEffects, Media 
Cleaner Pro, or just Mac basics. Former Apple tech rep. & 
working filmmaker in NYC. Discount for AIVF members. 
Greg (347) 731-3466. 

EDITOR WITH AVID. Beta SR DVCam. miniDV, DAT, 3/4", 
AfterEffects, Commotion, etc. Experienced with features, 
documentaries, broadcast, industrials & short form mate- 




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rial; commercial to avant-garde. Convenient East Village 
location with windows! $350/day, $50/hr. (212) 228- 
1914; www.detournyc.com 

EDITOR WITH AVID: Conscientious advocate of the Invisible 
Cut. Comfy West Village space. AVR77, 216 gigs, Beta, VHS, 
DV MC/Visa. Bill G. (212) 243-1343; gcomvid@usa.net 

ENTERTAINMENT ATTORNEY: frequent contributor to 
"Legal Brief" columns in The Independent & other mag- 
azines, offers legal services to film & video community on 
projects from development thru distribution. Contact 
Robert LSeigel, Esq.. (212) 333-7000. 

EXPERIENCED CINEMATOGRAPHER with crew & equip- 
ment; 16mm & 35mm. Short films & features. Vincent 
(212)779-1441. 

FREELANCE VIDEO EDITOR specializing in nonlinear digi- 
tal editing (DV). Good Rates. (212) 567-9377 schafer® 
taoproductions.com; www.taoproductions.com; "To a mind 
that is still, the whole Universe surrenders" — Lau Tzu. 

GRANTWRITING/FUNDRAISING: Research, writing & 
strategy (for production, distribution, exhibition, & educa- 
tional projects of media). Successful proposals to NYSCA, 
NEA, NEH, ITVS, Soros Foundation, Rockefeller 
Foundation, Lila Acheson Wallace Foundation. Fast writ- 
ers, reasonable rates. Wanda Bershen, (212) 598-0224; 
www.reddiaper.com; or Geri Thomas (212) 625-2011; 
www.artstaffing.com 

INDEPENDENT PRODUCTION COMPANY: Providing ser- 
vices for independent filmmakers, incl. all the crew & equip- 
ment needed. We also help you with locations, craft ser- 
vices, wardrobe, transportation, etc. . . basically everything 
that goes on behind the camera. We specialize in indepen- 
dent filmmaking: features, shorts, music videos. Will con- 
sider any budget. Contact Vadim Epstein (917) 921-4646. 

JOHN BASKO: Documentary cameraman w/ extensive 
international Network experience. Civil wars in Kosovo, 
Beirut, El Salvador, Nicaragua, Tiananmen Square stu- 
dent uprising. Equipment maintained by Sony. (718) 278- 
7869; fax: 278-6830; Johnbasko@icnt.net 

LOCATION SOUND: Over 20 yrs sound exp. w/ timecode 
Nagra & DAT, quality mics. Reduced rates for low-budget 
projects. Harvey & Fred Edwards, (518) 677-5720; 
edfilms@worldnet.att.net 

PRODUCTION TEAM: Providing services ranging from 
budget preparation to postproduction supervision. Help 
for your feature, short, video or commercial. Reduced 
rates for low-budget projects. A.L. Films: (718) 322- 
3202; info@legitfilms.com 

WEB DESIGNER creates your homepage. Reasonable 
rates. Also web maintenance. (212) 226-1526; rlp@ 
csi.com; http://rlp.homepage.com 

Opportunities • Gigs 

ASSISTANT PROFESSOR WANTED: Tenure track position 
in filmmaking, Aug. 2001. Qualifications: Thorough work- 
ing knowledge of all aspects of making the short film; MFA; 
significant recognition; teaching experience. Duties: Teach 
3 courses; check out equip. & maintain labs; direct grad- 
uate students; advising; committees. Salary commensu- 
rate w/ experience. Submit cover letter, statement of 
teaching philosophy, curriculum vitae, list of 3 references, 



sample of film work on VHS format, before Jan. 30, 2001, 
to: Joan Strommer, Search Committee, Photography/Film 
Dept, Virginia Commonwealth Univ., 325 N. Harrison St., 
Richmond, VA 23284; jstromme@ atlas.vcu.edu; VCU is 
an EO/AA employer. Women, minorities & persons w/ dis- 
abilities are encouraged to apply. 

DOCUMENTARY TELEVISION COMPANY seeks interns. 
Beginning in late January, for three months. We produce 
travel, historic, health-related, and other series. Fax letter 
and resume to: (212) 647-0940. attention: Production. 

EXECUTIVE DIRECTOR: The Independent Television 
Service (ITVS) seeks visionary executive to lead dynamic 
organization bringing independently produced work to 
public television. For details, see display ad, page 17. 

MANHATTAN-BASED PRODUCTION COMPANY seeks 

experienced producers, associate producers & re- 
searchers for history, travel, and health documentaries. 
Please fax letter and resume to (212) 647-0940; atten- 
tion: office coordinator. 

POSITION OPEN: Montana State Univ., Bozeman, Dept. of 
Media & Theater Arts. M.FA program in Science & Natural 
History Filmmaking. This position is non tenure-track. 
$34,000/9 months start Aug. 16, 2001. Will teach pro- 
duction courses to 10-12 graduate students covering all 
aspects of documentary prod'n. Req: Ph.D. or M.F.A in 
Motion Picture/Video Production or related field (appli- 
cants who have been recognized at a nat'l/int'l level as 
having exceptional accomplishments in this field but lack 
the advanced degree MAY be considered, provided they 
submit documentation). Screening begins Feb. 1, 2001. 
See full announcement & instructions at: www.mon- 
tana.edu/ msuinfo/jobs/ faculty or contact Jean Tabbert, 
MT State Univ., Box 174120 Bozeman, MT 59717; jtab- 
bert@montana.edu; (406) 994-5884; fax: 994-4591. 
ADA/EOE/AA/VetPref 

SEEKING INSTRUCTORS: Seattle Central Community 
College's Film & Video Communications program seeks full- 
time &/or part-time instructors to teach advanced, 2nd-yr 
students single & multiple-camera TV production, directing 
for film & TV, postproduction for film & video, and produc- 
tion management & budgeting. Positions req. serving as 
faculty advisor for student portfolio projects. Duties incl. 
collaborating w/ the Assoc. Dean, program faculty & 
Advisory Committee to keep program current w/ industry 
standards & developments. Min. Qualifications: Bachelor's 
degree in Film, TV, Comm. or related discipline, plus 5 years 
of full-time, relevant pro exp. Teaching exp. in post-sec- 
ondary education w/ documented exp. in curriculum design 
& development. Strong computer skills related to the film & 
video industry. Strong conceptual, creative & technical 
skills in production & postproduction. Knowledge of produc- 
tion management, operations, budgeting, and union & guild 
regs. Solid foundation in all creative & technical aspects of 
the production process & a high degree of achievement as 
a visual communicator. For open positions & appl. dead- 
lines, contact: Dr. John McMahon, Assoc. Dean, Comm. & 
Design Division, SCCC, 1701 Broadway Rm. 3176. Seattle. 
WA 98122; (206) 344-4340; jmcmah@sccd.ctc.edu 



SAVE ON CLASSIFIEDS. 

Check out our new frequency discounts 

& reduced rates for AIVF members. 



62 THE INDEPENDENT January/February 2001 






WELL-ESTABLISHED freelance camera group in NYC 
seeking professional cameramen and soundmen w/ solid 
Betacam video experience to work w/ our wide array of 
clients. If qualified contact COA at (212) 505-1911. Must 
have video samples/reel. 

Preproduction • Development 

SCREENPLAY WANTED; Connected prod. co. looking for 
innovative indie screenplay. Edgy drama, music, comedy 
or sci-fi themes. Credits incl. MTV Award, Star Trek TNG, 
Bravo, IFC & many others. Send treatments only & phone 
number to: mtc3000@rcn.com 

SCRIPTS WANTED; Producer with complete Sony High 
Definition 24P facility seeks profitable projects to produce 
or co-produce. Feature films, episodic television or docu- 
mentaries. Contact Derek at (212) 868-0028 for details; 
www.allinone-usa.com 

SU-CITY PICTURES: The Screenplay Doctor, The Movie 
Mechanic: We provide screenplay/treatment/synopsis/ 
films-in-progress insight/analysis. Studio credentials 
include: Miramax & Warner Bros. Competitive rates. 
Brochure: (212) 219-9224; www.su-city-pictures.com 

POSTPRODUCTION 

16MM CUTTING ROOMS: 8-plate & 6-plate fully 
equipped rooms, sound-transfer facilities, 24-hr access. 
Downtown, near all subways & Canal St. Reasonable 
rates. (212) 925-1500. 

16MM SOUND MIX only $100/hr. Interlocked 16mm pic- 
ture & tracks mixed to 16 or 35mm fullcoat. 16mm/35mm 



post services: picture & sound editorial, ADR, interlock 
screening, 16mm mag xfers (,06/ft), 16mm edgecoding 
(.015/ft). Call Tom (201) 741-4367. 

AVID EDITOR; 18 feature films, theatrical trailers. 
Additional credits with: TV, short films, industrial, promos. 
Fast, creative, technical, friendly. Fully equipped suite in 
prestigious downtown location. Credit cards accepted. 
Drina (212) 561-0829. 

BRODSKY & TREADWAY Film-to-tape masters. Reversal 
only. Regular 8mm, super 8, or archival 16mm. We love 
early B&W & Kodachrome. Scene-by-scene only. Correct 
frame rates. For appt. call (978) 948-7985. 

DVD AUTHORING: Full DVD project management. Spruce 
system, compression, encoding, menu creation, authoring 
and replication for your film. We are nice people and we 
have very reasonable pricing. (212) 563-4589; 245 W. 29 
St., NY NY 10001. 

EDIT/SHOOT IN SAN DIEGO: Discreet Edit 5.0 non-linear 
system. 90 gigs memory, component Beta, DV, S-VHS. 
Betacam & DV field pkg. Sony D-30/PW3 &VX2000. Full 
audio, graphics, etc. Low rates. Call (800) 497-1109; 
www.peteroliver.com 

FINAL CUT PRO: Rent a private edit suite in financial dis- 
trict w/ 24 hr access. 12 hrs b'cast quality storage, 
Photoshop, AfterEffects. Also, rent b'cast quality DV hid- 
den camera pkg: $250/day. Jonathan, Mint Leaf Prods: 
(212) 952-0121 X. 229. 

MEDIA 100 EDITING Broadcast quality, newest software. 
Huge storage & RAM. Betacam, 3/4", all DV formats, S- 
VHS, Hi-8. . . Great location, friendly environment & low 
rates, tech support, talented editors & fx artists available: 



(212) 868-0028. 




We're a one stop digital video house 

with camcorders, cranes, lighting units 

& Discreet Edit Suite. 



Hello World Communications 

118 West 22nd Street MYC 1001 1 

212.243-8800 fax691-6961 



MEDIA 100 EDITOR/POSTPRODUCTION SUPERVISOR: 

Eight years cutting docs for broadcast, PBS. Excellent 
refs. Linda Peckham (718) 398-3655. 

PRODUCER WITH PRODUCTION OFFICE looking for low 
budget features to produce in New York. Will provide bud- 
geting/scheduling, production personnel. Video, shorts 
and feature experience. Call Val at (212) 295-7878 or 
zelda212@netscape.net 

PRODUCTION OFFICE: West 85th in NYC, fully wired all 
office equip, Beta, 3/4" dubbing, animation. Avid room as 
needed. Short- or long-term. Dana (212) 501-7878 x. 222. 

PRODUCTION TRANSCRIPTS: Verbatim transcripts for 
documentaries, journalists, etc. Low prices & flat rates 
based on tape length. A standard 1 hr, 1-on-l interview 
is only $70. www.productiontranscripts.com for details or 
call: (888) 349-3022. 



PROFESSIONAL VIDEO COMPRESSION for presenting 
work over the Internet. Years of experience & clients incl. 
film festivals & independent filmmakers. Discount for AIVF 
members. Contact: compression@randomroom.com; 
www.randomroom.com/compression 

TWO CHEAP AVIDS! Great rental prices. Media Composer 
XL1000, Chelsea location: (212) 242-3005. Avid 400 5.5, 
Beta Deck, 36GB, Upper West Side: (212) 579-4294. 

UNCOMPRESSED AVID MEDIA COMPOSER: Fastest Avid 
on the block! A comfortable large room with all the ameni- 
ties. Blue Ice board, After Effects, Photoshop, Illustrator, 
digital audio board, video projector, too. Production 
Central (212) 631-0435. 



PRODUCTION POSTPRODUCTION DUPLICATION 




DVD Independent Special 

includes encoding, authoring & one disc 

1 5 min. - $800 30 min. - $1 200 
60min. -$1750 90 min. - $2000 



Media 100 Editing 

Production Packages 

Video Duplication 

Transfers & Conversions 



Film Festival Duplication Special 



20 VHS Tapes 

w/sleeves & labels 

Independents 

Only 



January February 200] THE INDEPENDENT 




www.aivf.org 



frorn the director 

My most vivid memory of last year's 
Sundance festival is of the audience 
response to James Benning's exquisite doc- 
umentary, El Valley Centre Very few view- 
ers left the theater while the film ran — 
which can be rare for a Frontier Program 
selection — and as the lights came up, they 
seemed palpably awestruck. The questions 
that ensued indicated that most viewers 
were previously unfamiliar with Benning 
and his work. After expressing their admi- 
ration, audience members got hung up on, 
"...but how can you get distribution?" 
They seemed thunderstruck by the idea 
that a filmmaker would attend Sundance 
for reasons other than making a sale. 
Which hearkened back to Redford's open- 
ing night plea to remember that "it's all 
about the films, about how through syner- 
gy something wonderful and new can hap- 
pen;" a point that can be "lost in the swim 
of hype." 

Benning's screening was an end, not a 
means. At the same time, any screening 
can (and should) open up new possibili- 
ties, for the audience as well as the maker. 



reach. ATVTF 

FILMMAKERS' RESOURCE LIBRARY 
HOURS: TUES.-FRI. 11-6; WED. 11-9 

The AIVF office is located at 304 Hudson St. 

(between Spring & Vandam) 6th fl., in New York 

City. Subways: 1, 9 (Houston St.); C, E (Spring 

St.); A (Canal St.). Our Filmmakers' Resource 

Library houses hundreds of print and electronic 

resources — from essential directories and trade 

magazines to sample proposals and budgets. 

BY PHONE: 212-807-1400 

Recorded information available 24/7; 
operator on duty Tues-Fri 2-5pm est. 

BY INTERNET: WWW.aivf.org 

info@aivf.org 



This is what seems too often to be lost in 
the indewood "hype." 

AIVF is proud to hype those film and 
videomakers that are resolutely indepen- 
dent; those that make work first for pas- 
sion, not profit, and distribute by any 
means necessary. We hope that in 2001 
even more of these artists will have the 
opportunity to screen their work for audi- 
ences, and thereby spark new possibilities. 

— Elizabeth Peters 

January 

MEET & GREET: 
ATOM FILMS 

Wlien: Thurs., January 11, 6:30-8:30 p.m. 
Cost: Free/AIVF members; 
$10/general public 
FE1/RSVP-. 212-807-1400 x. 301 

Atom is a new kind of entertainment com- 
pany that acquires the best short films and 
animations through top festivals, film 
schools, and submissions from all over the 
world. They market them to hundreds of 
partners in traditional distribution, like 
TV and airlines, and new platforms like 
wireless and even palm pilots. 

They are seeking shorts of all sizes and 
all genres, which "should have a begin- 
ning, middle, and end — but not necessari- 
ly in that order." Megan O'Neill, VP of 
Artist Relations; Patrick Long, Acqui- 
sitions Executive; and others from the 
Atom New York office will attend and 
answer all your questions./ 

AIVF AT SUNDANCE 2001 
HOUSE OF DOCS 

When: January 18-28 
FFI: www.sundance.org 

House of Docs was designed to cultivate 
dialogue between established and emerg- 
ing nonfiction filmmakers, industry lead- 
ers, and the public. This second year of 



House of Docs will be presented during 
the entirety of the Sundance Film Festival 
(January 18-28) and will offer informative 
panels, discussions, and resources, as well 
as a great place to hang out with your non- 
fiction fellows! 

THE CLERMONT-FERRAND 
SHORT FILM FESTIVAL 

Wlien: January 26-February 3 
FFI: www.clermont-filmfest.com 

AIVF is happy to co-sponsor this major 
international festival that provides a spec- 
tacular view of worldwide cinematograph- 
ic creation. Clermont includes the 
International Festival, featuring over 70 
shorts from 50 countries; the National 
Festival screens about 70 French films; a 
variety of programs and retrospectives 
cover subjects from a Chris Marker Tribute 
to a sidebar of Fetish Films. Meanwhile, 
the parallel Short Film Market will present 
over 3000 shorts to potential buyers. For 
further information, visit www.clermont- 
filmfest.com. 

February 



IN BRIEF: 

TAXES FOR 

INDEPENDENTS 




When: Tues., February 6, 6:30-8:30 p.m. 

Cost: $10/AIVF members; 

$20/nonmembers 

FFI/RSVP: 212-807-1400 x. 301 

Join CPAs Martin Bell (Bell & Co) and 
Steve Cooperberg (Todres & Rubin) in a 
discussion ot filing your taxes as an inde- 
pendent contractor or a small business. 
Members are encouraged to bring their 
specific concerns. Both CPAs are partici- 
pants in the AIVF Trade Discount 
Program and offer discounts to members 
on a year-round basis. Here is your chance 
to forge new relationships! 



64 THE INDEPENDENT January/February 2001 




THE ASSOCIATION OF INDEPENDENT 

VIDEO AND FILMMAKERS 



About AIVF and FIVF 

Offering support for individuals and 
advocacy for the media arts field, 
The Association of Independent Video 
and Filmmakers (AIVF) is a national 
membership organization of over 
3,000 diverse, committed opinionated 
and fiercely independent film- and 
videomakers. AIVF partners with the 
Foundation for Independent Video 
and Film (FIVF), a 501(c)(3) nonprofit 
offering a broad slate of education 
and information programs. 

To succeed as an independent you 
I need a wealth of resources, strong 
i connections, and the best information 
available. Whether through the pages 
of our magazine. The Independent 
Film 8r Video Monthly, or through 
the organization raising its collective 
voice to advocate for important 
issues, ATVF preserves your 
independence while reminding you 
you're not alone. 

Here's what AIVF 
membership offers: 



1 1 
ih 7 



J FILM & VIDEO MONTHLY 



"We Love This Magazine!!" 
-UTNE Reader- 
Membership provides you with a 
year's subscription to The Independent 
Thought-provoking features, profiles, 
news, and regular columns on 
business, technical, and legal matters. 
Plus the field's best source of 
festival listings, funding deadlines, 



exhibition venues, and announcements 
of member activities and services. 
Special issues highlight subjects 
including experimental media, new 
technologies, regional activity, and 
non-fiction work. Business and non- 
profit members receive discounts on 
advertising as well as special 
mention in each issue. 

INFORMATION 

FIVF publishes a series of practical 
resource books on international 
festivals, distribution, and exhibition 
venues, offered at discount prices to 
members (see the other part of this 
insert for a list). 

Our New York City Filmmaker 
Resource Library houses information 
on everything from preproduction to 
sample contracts, tailored to the 
needs of the independent producer. 
We also provide information 
referrals, answering hundreds of 
calls and e-mails each week! 

WWWANF.ORG 
Stay connected through www.aivf.org 
featuring the lowdown on AIVF 
services, resource listings and links, 
web-original articles, advocacy 
information, and discussion areas. 
Special on-line services for members 
include distributor and funder 
profiles and archives of The 
Independent - much more to come! 

INSURANCE 

Members are eligible to purchase 
group insurance plans through AIVF 
suppliers, including health insurance 
and production plans tailored to the 
needs of low-budget mediamakers. 



TRADE DISCOUNTS 

Businesses across the country offer 
AIVF members discounts on equipment 
and auto rentals, stock and expendibles, 
film processing, transfers, editing, 
shipping, and other production 
necessities. Members also receive 
discounts on purchases of the AIVF 
mailing list and classified ads in The 
Independent 

WORKSHOPS 8c EVENTS 

Special events covering the whole 
spectrum of current issues and 
concerns affecting the field, ranging 
from business and aesthetic to 
technical and political topics. 

COMMUNITY 

AIVF Regional Salons are based in 
cities across the country. These 
member-organized member-run get- 
togethers provide a unique 
opportunity to network exhibit, and 
advocate for independent media in 
local communities. To find the salon 
nearest you, check The Independent 
or visit the Regional Salon section of 
the AIVF website. 

ADVOCACY 

Since AIVF members first gathered 
over 25 years ago, AIVF has been 
consistently outspoken in its efforts 
to preserve the resources and rights 
of independent mediamakers, as well 
as to keep the public abreast of the 
latest issues concerning our field. 
Members receive periodic advocacy 
alerts, information on current issues 
and public policy, and the 
opportunity to add their voice to 
collective actions. 



MEMBERSHIP CATEGORIES 

INDIVIDUAL/STUDENT MEMBERSHIP 

Includes: one year's subscription to The Independent • access to group insurance plans • discounts 

on goods and services from national Trade Partners • online and over-the-phone information services ] 

• discounted admission to seminars, screenings, and events • book discounts • classifieds discounts • j 

advocacy action alerts • eligibility to vote and run for board of directors • members-only web services j 

DUAL MEMBERSHIP 

All of the above benefits extended to two members of the same household except for the year's 

subscription to The Independent which is shared by both 

BUSINESS 8r INDUSTRY/NON-PROFIT ORGANIZATION MEMBERSHIP 
All the above benefits (except access to insurance plans) • option to request up to 3 one-year 
subscriptions to The Independent • representative may vote and run for board of directors • 
discounts on display advertising • special mention in each issue of The Independent. 



LIBRARY/UNIVERSITY SUBSCRIPTION 

Year's subscription to The Independent for multiple readers. 



JOIN AIVF TOPAY! 



MEMBERSHIP RATES 

Individual □ $55/1 yr. □ $100/2 yrs. 

Dual □ $95/1 yr. □ $150/2 yrs. 

Student I I $35/1 yr. (enclose copy of current student ID) 

Business &• Industry □ $150/1 yr. 

Non-profit Organization D $100/1 yr. 
SUBSCRIPTION RATE 

Library/School □ $75/1 yr. 



Name 



For Dual: 2nd name 

Organization 

Address 



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State 



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Weekday teL 
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Country 
fax 



MAILING RATES 

Magazines are mailed second-class in the U.S. 

□ First-class U.S. mailing - add $30 

□ Canada - add $15 

□ Mexico - add $20 

□ All other countries - add $45 



* Your additional, tax-deductible contribution will help 
support the educational programs of the Foundation for 
Independent Video and Film, a public 501(c)(3) organization 



\ 



Membership cost 

Mailing costs (if applicable) 

Additional tax-deductible contribution to FIV 

Total amount enclosed (check or money orde 

IZI I've enclosed a check or MO payable to AIVF 

Please bill my CD Visa CH Mastercard Q AmJ 

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Mail to AIVF, 304 Hudson St, 6th fl, NY, NY 10013; or charge by phone (212) £07-1400 x 236, by fax 
(212) 463-5519, or via our website www.aivf.org. Your first issue of The Independent will arrive in 4-6 weeks. 



» 






MEET & GREET: 
THE JEROME FOUNDATION 

When: t.b.a 

Cost: free/AIVF members; $10 gen. public 

FFI/RSVP: 212-807-1400 x. 301 

The Jerome Foundation makes grants to 
support the creation and production of new 
artistic works by emerging artists, and con- 
tributes to the professional advancement 
of those artists. Grantmaking decisions 
reflect the foundation's belief in the vigor- 
ous and distinctive voices of artists whose 
works challenge our thinking and add 
meaning to our lives. Jerome welcomes 
work that embodies a celebration of and 
respect for diverse cultural perspectives. In 
its focus on emerging artists, the foundation 
seeks to encourage the potential for inno- 
vation and excellence. Program Officer 
Robert Byrd will discuss Jerome's funding 
program and answer your questions about 
putting forth a strong application. 

DOCUMENTARY DIALOGUES 

When: Tues., February 20, 6:30-8:30 p.m. 
Wine & Goldfish reception follows! 
Cost: $5 AIVF members 
FFI/RSVP: 212-807-1400 x. 301 

Documentary Dialogues is a bi-monthly 
discussion group comprised of AIVF non- 
fiction filmmakers. Topics encompass the- 
oretical and philosophical perspectives 
and approaches to independent film- and 
videomaking. For further information on 
this month's program, call the events hot- 
line or visit www.aivf.org 

AIVF CO-SPONSORS: 

SELECT SCREENINGS PRESENTED BY 

THE FILM SOCIETY OF LINCOLN CENTER 

AIVF members may attend specific films 
for just $5 per ticket! Please show mem- 
bership card at box office. For program 
info, contact the Film Society box office at 
(212) 875-5600 or www.filmlinc.com 

Jan. 5-11: Jean-Luc Godard's Weekend 

& Keep Up Your Right 
Jan. 12-13, 19-20: Dance on Camera Festival 
Jan. 14-25: New York Jewish Film Festival 
Jan. 26-Feb. 1 : Emmanuel Finkiel Voyages 
Feb. 2-8: Elem Klimov's Come and See 
Feb. 9-15: Animation of Chuck Jones 
Feb. 16-22: Slovak Cinema 
Feb. 23-March 8: New Chinese Cinema 



Looking for a Distributor? 



The University of California Extension is a leading educational distributor, 

with 85 years of experience selling to universities, schools, libraries, 

health organizations, and other institutions worldwide. 

If your new work is ready for distribution, give us a call. 
University of California Extension 



510-643-2788 cmil@uclink.berkeley.edu 

http://www-cmil.unex.berkeley.edu/media/ 



^ TOTAL POST SOLUTIONS 

INDEPENDENT 

DIGITAL 



* on time 



ik on budget 
^ it on quality 




http://www.indidigital.com 



310-581-8800 



January/February 2001 THE INDEPENDENT 65 






The AIVF Regional Salons provide an opportunity for 
members to discuss work, meet other independents, 
share war stories, and connect with the AIVF commu- 
nity across the country. Visit the salons section at 
www.aivf.org for more info. Be sure to contact your 
local Salon Leader to confirm date, time, and loca- 
tion of the next meeting! 

Albany, NY: 

When: First Wed. of each month, 6:30 pm 

Where: Borders Books 6k Music, Wolf Rd. 

Contact: Mike Camoin (518) 489-2083; 

mikefu'videosforchange.com 

Austin, TX: 

Contact: Austin Film Society (512) 322-0145; 
afs(§'austinfilm.org 

Atlanta, GA: 

When: Second Tuesday of the month, 7 pm 
Where: Redlight Cafe, 553 Amsterdam Ave. 
Contact: Mark Wynns, IMAGE, (404) 352-4225 
x. 12; markta'imagefv.org 

Birmingham, AL: 

Contact: John Richardson, johnwrta mindspring.com 

Boston, MA: 

Contact: Fred Simon, (508) 528-7279; 
FSimon@aol.com 

Boulder, CO: 

Monthly activist screenings: 

When: Second Thursday of the month, 7 pm 

Where: Rocky Mountain Peace and Justice 



Center, 1520 Euclid Ave. 
Contact: Jon Stout, (303) 442-8445; 
programmingfft'fstv.org 

Charleston, SC: 

When: Last Thursday of each month 6:30-8:45 pm 

Where: Charleston County Library Auditorium, 

68 Calhoun St. 

Contact: Peter Paolini, (843) 805-6841; 

filmsalon(S'aol.com 

Cleveland, OH: 

Contact: Annetta Marion and Bernadette Gillota 
at the Ohio Independent Film Festival, (216) 
781-1755; OhioIndieFilmFest@juno.com 

Dallas, TX: 

Contact: Bart Weiss, (214) 999-8999; 
bart@videofest.org 

Lincoln, NE: 

When: 2nd Wednesday of the month, 5:30 pm 

Where: Telepro, 1844 N Street 

Contact: Dorothy Booraem, (402) 476-5422; 

dot@inetnebr.com; 

www.lincolnne.com/nonprofit/nifp/ 

Los Angeles, CA: 

Contact: Lee Lew Lee, aivf_la(5 pacbell.net 

Milwaukee, WI: 

When: 1st Wednesday of the month 
Contact: Brooke Maroldi, (414) 276-8563; 
www.mifs.org/salon 



New Brunswick, NJ: 

Contact: Allen Chou, (732) 321-0711; 

allen@passionriver.com; www.passionriver.com 

Palm Beach, FL: 

Contact: Dominic Giannetti, (561) 326-2668; 
dgproductions@hotmail.com 

Portland, OR: 

Contact: Beth Harrington, (360) 256-6254; 
betuccia@aol.com 

Rochester, NY: 

Contact: Kate Kressman-Kehoe, (716) 244-8629; 

ksk@netacc.net 

San Diego, CA: 

Contact: Paul Espinosa, (619) 284-9811; 
espinosa@electriciti.com 

Tucson, AZ: 

Contact: Heidi Noel Brozek, bridge@theriver.com; 
Rosarie Salerno, destiny@azstarnet.com; 
http://access.tucson.org/aivf/ 

Washington, DC: 

Contact: DC Salon hotline, (202) 554-3263 x. 4; 
sowande@bellatlantic.net 

AIVF has resources to assist enthusiastic and commit- 
ted members who wish to start a salon in their own 
community. Please call (212) 807-1400 x. 236 or 
e-mail members@aivf.org for information. 




VIDEO 



ANCHOR/ 

NEWS DESK 

SETS 



VIDEO- 
CONFERENCING 



SATELLITE 
MEDIA TOURS 



CORPORATE 
VIDEOS 



LOCATION 
CREWS 

EDITSUITE 



NTV 

is a division of 

NTV 

International 

Corporation 



CONTACT: 

ElyseKabinowitz 212-489-8390 

NTV STUDIO PRODUCTIONS 

50 ROCKEFELLER PLAZA 

NYC 10020 



--llLVlLqq'IC'B 



Satellite 
services 









Supports Avid, Premiere, Final Cut Pro, Media 100 and EditDV 



Tracks all the elements of the finished film in its on-line database 



Outputs negative cut lists, optical lists, pull lists, dupe lists and more 



« 



ystems Inc. 

www.filmlogic.com 



FilmLogic is designed for filmmakers who are shooting 35mm 
or 16mm film and want to edit electronically while finishing on 
film. Not another editing program, FilmLogic is an application 
which works with popular digital non-linear video editing systems. 
Call Focal Point Systems, Inc. in the USA toll-free at 877-209-7458 

© 2000 Focal Pom! Si-stems inc. 



66 THE INDEPENDENT January/February 2001 



(W^ES 



u& 



ia9 



AIVF MEMBER BENEFITS & TRADE DISCOUNTS 



AIVF offers many benefits to our members. 
For complete details, including point persons, 
contact information, and discount codes, visit 
www.aivf.org (note: you must provide your mem- 
bership number to log on) or call (212) 807-1400 
x 506 to have a Benefits List mailed to you. This 
information was last updated 11/00 and is subject 
to change without notice. 

New Discounts! 

Hotel rooms with Choice Hotels Int'l; Stedicams 
with Glidecam Industries; Film processing with 
Bono Films; Encoding for internet streaming with 
l-Stream TV; Processing & transfers with Magno 
Lab Link; Avid rentals with City Lights Media 
Group; Final Cut Pro rental with Mint Leaf 
Productions; Legal services with Ivan 
Saperstein; Price breaks at Drama Book Shop; 
Financial services with Todres & Rubin, CPAs 

AIVF Offers 

Discounts on FIVF Published Books 

AIVF Programs & Events 

Discounted admission to dozens of programs offered or 
co-presented by AIVF across the U.S. 

AIVF Mailing list 

Reach a core group of folks who appreciate indie media! 

Discounts on Classified ads in The Independent 

For Business & Nonprofit members: 
Discounted Display ads in The Independent 

Members only: AIVF Conference Room 

Located in NYC office. Seats 20, with vcr and 32" monitor. 

Members only: short-term desk rental 

Rent a desk and voice mail box at our SoHo office. 

Production Insurance 

Special discounted rates on a variety of insurance plans 
with the following companies: 

C & S International Insurance Brokers 

CGA Associates 

The JLS Group 

Marvin S. Kaplan Insurance Agency 

Homeowners & Auto Insurance 

CGA Associates 

Health Insurance 

Bader Associates 

Discounts on various plans. 

RBA Insurance Strategies 

Offers a 20-30% discount with HIP (NY only) 



Teigit (for CIGNA health plans) 

CIGNA health plans coverage in limited states. 

Dental Insurance 

Bader Associates 
Teigit/Cigna 

Stock & Expendibles 

Film Emporium (New York, NY) 

10% off film, video and audio tape. 

Edgewise Media (formerly Studio Film & Tape) 
(CA, IL, NY) 

10% discount on film and videotape purchases. 

Production Resources 

Downtown Community TV Center (New York, NY) 

Discounts on workshops, Avid & DVC rentals. 

Edgewood Motion Picture Studios (Rutland, VT) 

25% off production packages. 

Film Emporium (New York, NY) 

Consulting on insurance; DVCs for purchase or rent. 

Film Friends (FL & NY) 

20% discount on extensive range of equipment rentals. 

Glidecam Industries (Plymouth, MA) 

15% discount on body mounted stabilizer systems. 

Hello World Communications (New York, NY) 

10% discount for walkies, audio & video packages. 

Lichtenstein Creative Media (New York, NY) 

15% discount on Ikegami and BetaSP equipment rental. 

Mill Valley Film Group (Mill Valley, CA) 

35% discounts on edit facilities & production packages. 

Production Central (New York, NY) 

10% discount on first-time Beta-SP deck rentals 

Public Interest Video Network (Washington, DC) 

10% discount on camera rental packages. 

Soho Audio (New York, NY) 

10% discount on all audio equipment rentals. 

Texcam (Houston, TX) 

10% discount on film camera packages. 

Yellow Cat Productions (Washington, DC) 

15% off full day video shoot. 

Labs & Transfer Houses 

Bee Harris (Mt. Vernon, NY) 

10% discount on film and tape transfers and duplications. 

Bono Films (Arlington, VA) 

10% discount on normal processing. 

Cinepost (Atlanta, GA) 

Discounts on negative film processing, film-to-video 
transfers and DVD copies. 



DuArt Film and Video (New York, NY) 

Discounts on color negative developing, workprinting, 
blow-ups and titles. 

I-Stream TV (New York, NY) 

10% off Encoding into Windows Media or RealVideo file. 

Lichtenstein Creative Media (New York, NY) 

15% discount on DV to Beta dubs. 

Magno Lab Link, Inc. Film & Video (New York, NY) 

Special rates on developing, printing, sound, transfers. 

OK TV, Inc. (New York, NY) 

10% on all services: dailies, sound transfers; titles and 
f/x; film-to-tape transfers; video editing. 

Rafik (New York, NY) 

10% off video services, editing, duplication, film-to-tape 
transfers, and foreign video conversion. 

Editing & Postproduction 

AMG Post (Aries Media Group) (New York, NY) 

10% discount on all video postproduction services 

Baby Digital (at Atomic Pictures) (New York, NY) 

25% discount on all postproduction and graphics services. 

Bee Harris Productions (New York, NY) 

10% discount on editing services and facilities. 

Brass Rail Music (New York, NY) 

Discounted film scoring services. 

City Lights Media Group (New York, NY) 

10% discount on Avid rentals and post services. 

Diva Edit (New York, NY) 

10% discount on Avid editing services and facilities 

Downtown Community TV Center 

Discounts on workshops, Avid & DVC rentals. 

DV8Video, Inc. (New York, NY) 

Discounts on Avid services, and duplication. 

Edgewood Motion Picture Studios (Rutland, VT) 

35% off Avid or Protools; studio or to go. 

ENTV Studio Productions (New York, NY) 

10% discount on all editing services. 

GLC Productions (New York, NY) 

10-30% discount for audio post-production services. 

Harmonic Ranch (New York, NY) 

Discounts on sound editing, music, mixing & design. 

Hello World Communications (New York, NY) 

10% discount on nle system. 

Island Media International (New York, NY) 

50% off Avid editing; sound mix, design, editing; 
DVD/CD authoring, packaging, duplicating. 

Media Loft (New York, NY) 

5% discount on editing, titling, dubbing, 
special effects, and more. 

Mercer Media (New York, NY) 

50% discount on audio services and video editing. 



January/February 2001 THE INDEPENDENT 67 



The Foundation for Independent Video and Film (FIVF), the educational affiliate 
of the Association for Independent Video and Filmmakers (AIVF), supports a variety 

of programs and services for the independent 
media community, including publication of The 



T*V*W"1Tf*Mt±m 



Independent and a series of resource publications, seminars and workshops, and 
information services. None of this work would be possible without the generous sup- 
port of the AIVF membership and the following organizations: 



The Mary Duke Biddle Foundation 

1 ■• " The Chase Manhattan Foundation 

Forest Creatures Entertainment, Inc. 

Heathcote Art Foundation 

The William and Flora Hewlett Foundation 

LEF Foundation 

Albert A. List Foundation, Inc. 



^ 



NYSCA 



The John D. and Catherine T. 
MacArthur Foundation 

The National Endowment for the Arts 

New York City Department of Cultural 
Affairs: Cultural Challenge Program 

New York Foundation for the Arts: 
TechTAP 

New York State Council on the Arts 



We also wish to thank the following individuals and organizational members: 

BllSineSS/lndUStry Members: CA: Action/Cut Directed By Seminars; Dr. Rawstock; Eastman 
Kodak Co.; Film Society of Ventura County; Focal Point Systems, Inc.; Forest Creatures Entertainment Co.; 
Idea Live; Marshall/Stewart Productions, Inc.; No Justice Pictures, LLC; ProMax Systems Inc.; Somford 
Entertainment; CO: The Crew Connection; CT: Bagel Fish Prods.; DC: Consciousness Squared 
Communications; FL: MegaMedia Networks, Inc.; Odysseas Entertainment, Inc.; Tiger Productions, Inc.; 
GA: Indie 7; IL Optimus; MA: Coolidge Corner Theatre Fdtn.; CS Associates, Glidecam Industries; Harvard 
Medical School; MD: Imagination Machines, The Learning Channel; Ml: Grace & Wild Studios, Inc.; 
Zooropa Design; NJ: Black Maria Film Festival; Diva Communications, Inc.; James J. Lennox; 
NewProject.Net; NY: All In One Promotions, Inc.; American Montage; Analog Digital Intl.; Arc International 
Entertainment Corp.; Archive Films, Inc.; Asset Pictures; Bagel Fish Productions; Bluestocking Fiims, Inc.; 
The Bureau for At-Risk Youth; C-Hundred Film Corporation; Cineblast! Prods.; Corra Films; Cypress Films; 
Deconstruction Co.; Trudi DeSouza; Dekart Video; Dependable Delivery, Inc.; DMZ Prods.; DV8 Video 
Inc.; Earth Video; Ericson Media Inc; Fireballs Films, Ltd.; Human Relations Media; Hypnotic; Inkling 
Prods.; Kitchen Cinema; Kitchen Sync Group, Inc.; KL Lighting; Mad Mad Judy; Media Services; Mercer 
St. Sound; Mixed Greens; Nuclear Warrier Prods.; Normal Networks; On Track Video, Inc.; The Outpost 
Digital; Partisan Pictures; Paul Dinatale Post, Inc.; Prime Technologies; Reelshort.com; SeaHorse Films; 
Son Vida Pictures, LLC; Sound Mechanix; Stuart Math Films, Inc.; The Tape Company; Tribune Pictures; 
Winstar Productions; Wolfen Prods.; OR: Angel Station Corp; PA: Smithtown Creek Prods.; TX: Rose Noble 
Entertainment; UT: KBYU-TV; Rapid Video, LLC; VA: Bono Film & Video; Roland House, Inc.; WA: Amazon.com; 
Global Griot Prod.; Canada: Fraser/Scott Enterprises; France: Kendal Prods.; Italy: Omnibus Pictures S.L. 

Nonprofit Members: AL Sidewalk Moving Picture Fest.; AZ: U of Arizona; Women's 
Studies/Northern Arizona University; Scottsdale Community College; CA: The Berkeley Documentary 
Center; Film Arts Foundation; Filmmakers Alliance; Intl. Buddhist Film Festival; ITVS; Los Angeles Film 
Commission; Media Fund; NAATA; Ojai Film Society; San Francisco Jewish Festival; U of Cal. Extension, 
CMIL; USC School of Cinema TV; Victory Outreach Church; Whispered Media; CO: Denver Center for the 
Performing Arts; CT: Film Fest. New Haven; DC: Corporation for Public Broadcasting; GA: Image Film & 
Video Center; HI: Aha Punana Leo; U of Hawaii; ID: Center for School Improvement; IL: The Art Institute 
of Chicago; Chicago Underground Film Fest.; Columbia College; Community Television Network; Facets; 
Little City Foundation; MacArthur Foundation; Rock Valley College; KY: Appalshop; LA: New Orleans Film 
Fest.; MA: CCTV; Coolidge Corner Theatre Foundation; Harvard Medical School; Long Bow Group Inc; 
Lowell Telecommunications Corp.; LTC Communications; Somerville Community TV; MD: Laurel Cable 
Network; Native Vision Media; ME: Bar Harbor Film Fest.; Ml: Ann Arbor Film Fest.; MN: Bush Artist 
Fellowships; IFP/North; Intermedia Arts; Walker Arts Center; MO: Webster University Film Series; MS: 
Magnolia Indie Festival; NC: Doubletake Documentary Film Fest; NE: Nebraska Independent Film Project, 
Inc.; NY: AARP New York State; Andy Warhol Foundation for Visual Arts, Inc.; Audrey Cohen College 
Center for New American Media; Cinema Arts Center; City University of New York - TV Tech Program 
Communications Society; Cornell Cinema; Creative Capital Foundation; Crowing Rooster Arts; DCTV; 
Downtown Community TV; Educational Video Center; Film Forum; Film Society of Lincoln Center; 
Globalvision, Inc.; Guggenheim Museum SoHo; Hamptons Film Festival; John Jay High School; Konscious, 
Inc.; Manhattan Neighborhood Network; MOMA-Film Study Center; National Foundation for Jewish 
Culture; National Museum of the American Indian; National Video Resources; New York Film Academy; 
New York Film Academy; New York Women In Film and Television; Open Society Institute/Soros 
Documentary Fund; Paper Tiger TV; Paul Robeson Fund/Funding Exchange; The Roth School Library; Spiral 
Pictures; Squeaky Wheel; The Standby Program; Stony Brook Film Fest.; SUNY/Buffalo Dept. Media 
Studies; Third World Newsreel; Thirteen/WNET; Upstate Films, Ltd.; Women Make Movies; OH: Athens 
Center For Film & Video; Cleveland Filmmakers; Media Bridges Cincinnati; Ohio Independent Film 
Festival; Ohio University-Film; Wexner Center; OR: Communication Arts, MHCC; Northwest Film Center; PA 
Carnegie Museum of Art; PA/Council On The Arts; Philadelphia FilmA/ideo Association; Pittsburgh Filmmakers 
Prince Music Theater; Scribe Video Center; Temple University; Univ. of the Arts; Rl: Flickers Arts Collaborative 
Rl School of Design/Film, Animation Dept; SC: South Carolina Arts Comm.; TN: Nashville Independent Film 
Fest; TX: Austin Cinemaker Co-Op; Austin Film Society; Museum of Fine Arts, Houston; Southwest 
Alternate Media Project; Texas Film Commmission; U. of Texas Dept. Radio-TV-Film; Worldfest Houston; 
UT: Sundance Institute; VT: Kingdom County Productions; WA: Seattle Central Community College; Wl: 
Madison Film Office; UWM Department of Film; U of Wisconsin Dept of Communcation Arts; Wisconsin 
Film Office; Argentina: Lagart Producciones; Canada: Toronto Documentary Forum/Hot Docs,- Germany: Int'l 
Shorts Film Festival; India: Foundation for Universal Responsibility; International Shorts Film Festival 



£ 



_,EI 



ZZ 



Mill Valley Film Group (Mill Valley, CA) 

35% discounts on Media 100 SX or Avid. 

Mint Leaf Productions (New York, NY) 

15% off Final Cut Pro Edit System rental. 

Northeast Negative Matchers, Inc. 
(Springfield, MA) 

10% discount on negative cutting services. 

OK TV, Inc. (New York, NY) 

10% on titles and f/x; video editing. 

One Art (New York, NY) 

10% discount on Avid rentals. 

Outpost Digital (New York, NY) 

10% discount on editing suite rentals 

The Picture Room (New York, NY) 

30% discount on Avid rental and editing services. 

Picture This Music (New York, NY) 

10-30% off digital audio postproduction 

The Post Office at Filmmaker's Collaborative (NY, NY) 

20-50% off of book rate for Avid editing. 

Public Interest Video Network (Washington, DC) 

15% discount for postproduction services. 

Rafik (New York, NY) 

10% off video editing. 

Ren Media (Rahway, NJ) 

Discounts on music scoring for film/video. 

Sound Dimensions Editorial (New York, NY) 

10% discounts on transfers, effects & sound services. 

Splash Studios (New York, NY) 

35% on hourly looping and sound editing fees. 

Tiny Lights, Inc, (New York, NY) 

25% discount on all music and sound design services. 

Video Active Productions (New York, NY) 

15-30% discount on all editing services and facilities. 

Virgin Moon Post (Ventura, CA) 

20% discount on all postproduction services. 

Virtual Media (New York, NY) 

Discounts to AIVF members on Avid editing systems. 

Yellow Cat Productions (Washington, DC) 

15% off any Avid editing 

Other Production Services 

Image Design Studio (New York, NY) 

20-30% discounts on various graphic design services. 

Software 

Final Draft, Inc. 

Discounts on Final Draft screenwriting software. 

Amenities 

Cinema Village (New York, NY) 

Discounted ticket prices: $6.50 for AIVF members. 

Drama Book Shop (New York, NY) 

15% discount with card on all purchases. 

Film Society of Lincoln Center (New York, NY) 

Discounted ticket prices for select series. 



68 THE INDEPENDENT January/February 2001 



Two Boots (New York, NY) 

10% discount at all NYC restaurant branches, the Den 
of Cin exhibition space, and Two Boots Video. 



Car Rental 

Members receive discounts on car rentals with: 
Alamo; Avis; Budget; Hertz; National 

Hotels 

Discounts within Choice Hotels International chain, 
including Quality Inn, Comfort Inn, Sleep Inn, Clarion 
Hotels, EconLodge, Rodeway Inn, and Mainstay Suites 
locations. 

Internet Services 

Echo Communications Group, Inc. 

25% off commercial and non-profit web hosting pack- 
ages & various SLP/PPP accounts. 



Legal Consulting 



Hollywood Script Research (Hollywood, CA) 

10% off legal clearance reports (to qualify for E&O 
insurance coverage) for first script submitted. 

Consultation; discount on legal services with the 
following firms: 

Daniel, Seigel and Bimbler, LLC (New York, NY) 

Cowan, DeBaets, Abrahams & Sheppard 

(New York, NY) 

Stephen Mark Goldstein (New York, NY) 

Law Offices of Mark Litwak (Beverly Hills, CA) 

Ivan Saperstein, Attorney at Law 
(New Rochelle, NY) 

Law Offices of Miriam Stern (New York, NY) 

Financial Services 

Bell & Co. LLP (New York, NY) 

Free consultation on tax issues. 

Guardian Life Insurace (New York, NY) 

Discounts on life and disability insurance plans. 

Media Services (New York, NY) 

10% discount on the handling fee for payroll services. 

Merrill Lynch (New York, NY) 

Offers an all-inclusive checking, savings, money market 
account for small businesses. 

Premiere Tax & Accounting Services (NY, NY) 

25-40% off various tax returns and services. 

Todres & Rubin, CPAs (New York, NY) 

Free tax consulting. 10-15% discount on annual fees. 

Shipping Services 

Airborne Express (c/o Meridian One) 

Up to 42% off Airborne Express delivery. 



177 



U D I O 4 J 



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All services include an Editor/Operator. 



To receive these benefits, visit www.aivf.org 
or call 212/807-1400 to join AIVF today! 



Contact Us for Services & Info. 

PO Box 184 NY, NY 10012-0004 
Tel: 212.219.0951 
Fax: 212.219.0563 

www.standby.org 



I© 



The Millennium Campaign Fund is a 
3 -year initiative to develop a $150,000 

cash 
reserve 



mille 

C7£Lzn.nsa.: 



fund for 

the Foundation for Independent Video 
and Film by our 25th anniversary in the 
year 2000. Since its inauguration in 
1997, we have raised more than 
$112,000. 

Our heartfelt thanks to all those who 
have so generously donated to the 
Millennium Campaign Fund! 

Corporate/Government/ 
Foundation Contributors 

BET/Encore; District Cablevision; Home 
Box Office; New York State Council on the 
Arts; Ovation; Washington DC Film 
Society. 

Honorary Committee Members 

(gifts of $500 or more) 

AIVF DC Salon; Ralph Arlyck, Timed 
Exposures; Brian Borrelli, Emerson 
College; Peter Buck; Hugo Cassirer, Felix 
Films; Martha Coolidge; Linda & Bob 
Curtis; Jacob Burns Foundation, Inc.; Loni 
Ding; Jacqueline Donnet; Karen Freedman 
& Roger Weisberg; Julie Goldman, 
WinStar Productions; David Haas; Henry 
Hampton*, Blackside, Inc.; Nik Ives; Bill 
Jersey, The Catticus Corporation; Richard 
Kaplan; Michael G. Kindle; Amie Knox; 
Deborah Kozee, C&S International 
Insurance Brokers; Leonard Merrill Kurz, 
Forest Creatures Entertainment; Richard 
Kylberg, Communicom; Tom LeGoff; 
Helaine & Sidney Lerner; Ruby Lerner; 
Peter Lewnes; Rick Linklater, Detour Film 
Foundation; Juan Mandelbaum; John Bard 
Manulis; Diane Markrow; Jim McKay, C- 
Hundred Film Corp.; Michel Negroponte; 
Sheila Nevins; Elizabeth Peters; David & 
Sandy Picker; R.E.M./Athens LLC; 
Barbara Roberts; James Schamus, Good 
Machine; John Schwartz; Robert L. Seigel; 
Liza Vann Smith; Miranda Smith; Michael 
Stipe; Ann Tennenbaum; Tower Records 
Videos/Books; Walterrv Insurance Co.; 
Marc N. Weiss & Nancy Meyer; Martin 
Wills, TCI/District Cablevision; Robert E. 
Wise; Susan Wittenberg; Lawrence Zicklin, 
Jewish Communal Fund. (*deceased) 

We also wish to thank the individuals ok 
organizations who have recently made or 
renewed generous donations ot $100 Oi 
more as MCF FRIENDS (8 i oo ro» sooot 
Helen Strirzler, Mark Lipman >k Forest 
Creatures Entertainment 



January/Februan 2001 THE INDEPENDENT 6? 




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Statement of Ownership 
Management and Circulation 

(Required by 39 U.S.C. 3685) 

1 . Title of Publication: Tire Independent Film &Video Monthly. 

2. Publication number: 011-708. 

3. Filing date: 11-27-99. 

4. Issue frequency: Monthly (except Feb. & Sept.). 

5. Number of issues published annually: 10. 

6. Annual subscription price: $55/individual: $35/stu- 
dent; $75/library; $100/nonprofit & school; $150/busi- 
ness & industry. 

7. Complete mailing address of known office of publi- 
cation: 304 Hudson St.. 6th fl.. New York, NY 10013- 
1015. Contact person: Elizabeth Peters. Telephone: 
(212) 807-1400 x. 224. 

8. Complete mailing address of headquarters or general 
business office of publisher: 304 Hudson St., 6th fl.. 
New York, NY 10013-1015. 

9. Full names and complete mailing addresses of the 
publisher, editor, and managing editor: Publisher: 
Elizabeth Peters, AIVF/FIVF. 304 Hudson St., 6th fl.. 
New York, NY 10013-1015. Editor: Patricia Thomson, 
FIVE 304 Hudson St., 6th fl.. New York, NY 10013- 
1015. Managing Editor: Paul Power. FIVE 304 Hudson 
St., 6th fl.. New York, NY 10013-1015. 

10. Owner: The Foundation for Independent Video and 
Film (FIVF). 304 Hudson St.. 6th fl.. New York. NY 
10013-1015. (FIVF is a nonprofit organization.) 

1 1 . Known bondholders, mortgagees, and other security 
holders owning or holding 1 percent or more of total 
amount of bonds, mortgages, or other securities: None. 

12. Tax status: The purpose, function, and nonprofit sta- 
tus of this 501(c)(3) organization and the exempt status 
for federal income tax purposes has not changed during 
the preceding 12 months. 

13. Publication tide: Vie Independent Film & Video Monthly. 

14. Issue date for circulation data below: Aug/Sep 2000. 

15. Extent and nature of circulation: a. Total No. Copies 
(net press run): Average no. copies each issue during 
preceding 12 months: 13,489; actual no. copies of sin- 
gle issue published nearest to filing date: 13,500. b. 
Paid and/or requested circulation: (1) Paid/requested 
outside-county mail subscriptions stated on Form 3541: 
Average no. copies each issue during preceding 12 
months: 4,867; no. copies of single issue published 
nearest to filing date: 4,839: (2) Paid in-county sub- 
scriptions: N/A: (3) Sales through dealers, carriers, 
street vendors, counter sales & other non-USPS paid 
distribution: Average no. copies each issue during pre- 
ceding 12 months: 6,363; no. copies of single issue pub- 
lished nearest to filing date: 6,465; (4) Other classes 
mailed through the USPS: N/A. c. Total paid and/or 
requested circulation: Average no. copies each issue 
during preceding 12 months: 11.230; no. copies of sin- 
gle issue published nearest to filing date: 1 1.304. d. 
Free distribution by mail: Average no. copies each issue 
during preceding 12 months: 137; no. copies of single 
issue published nearest to filing date: 252. e. Free distri- 
bution outside the mail (carriers or other means): 
Average no. copies each issue during preceding 12 
months: 1,315; no. copies of single issue published 
nearest to filing date: 1.100. f. Total free distribution: 
Average no. copies each issue during preceding 12 
months: 1.452; no. copies of single issue published 
nearest to filing date: 1,352. g. Total distribution: 
Average no. copies each issue during preceding 12 
months: 12,682; no. copies of single issue published 
nearest to filing date: 12.656. h. Copies not distributed: 
Average no. copies each issue during preceding 12 
months: 807: no. copies of single issue published near- 
est to filing date: 844. i. Total: (sum of 15 g. h(l) and 
h(2) Average no. copies each issue during preceding 12 
months: 13,489; no. copies of single issue published 
nearest to filing date: 13.500. j. Percent paid and/or 
requested circulation: Average no. copies each issue 
during preceding 12 months: 88.55% ; actual no. copies 
of single issue published nearest to filing date: 89.32"*. 

16. Publication of Statement of Ownership: Publication 
required. Will be published in the Jan/Feb 2001 issue of 
this publication. 

17. 1 certify that all information furnished on this form 
is true and complete. 

(Signed) 

Paul Power, Managing Editor. 27th November: 2000. 



70 THE INDEPENDENT January/February 2001 






MITCHELL: CONTINUED FROM PAGE 39 

we have to look at it as a possibility. 
Because HBO is pay cable, they are a dif- 
ferent demographic, representing a dif- 
ferent [distribution] window for a pro- 
duction. We need to do it in a way that 
keeps our content the way it needs to be. 
Sharing editorially is going to be difficult. 
And pay services count on being first. 

I don't have any [co-productions] that 
we've been able to figure out yet. There 
was one project I took as a possible part- 
nership with HBO. We hit the wall on it. 
It was expensive. I couldn't get by that 
for this particular project. It's too good, 
and I didn't want PBS to give up being 
first. But at the top of my priority list is 
quality and new thinking. Something will 
come along that will be right for that 
kind of cooperation 

[Before this story went to press, PBS 
announced a collaboration with ABC's 
Nightline for Life in Bold, a newsmagazine 
about real-life heroes; gave the green- 
light for 27 new episodes of American 
High to be produced with 20 th Century 
Fox Television (see news story pg. 13); 
and restructured the ZOOM children's 
series for drop -in of segments produced 
by local member stations.] 

What about global markets? 

I'm spending a lot of time on this because 
I have a lot of experience internationally. 
I developed a big international business 
at Turner, but the international market is 
getting tougher too as their marketplaces 
have more choices. I hope we can figure 
out an overall system strategy to bring 
more money with a bigger international 
co-production deal. It would be addi- 
tional money available for a project. 
Instead of you having to go make inter- 
national sales calls and do things you're 
not set up to do in terms of infrastruc- 
ture, that could be done for you and 
shared with you. 

I didn't come here because I wanted a 
better job. I didn't come here to "man- 
age" PBS. I took this job because I 
believed there were changes that were 
needed. I'd just like to tell you that 
things have changed! 

Patnc Hedlund is a producer and writer. Her 

article "Following the Breadcrumb Trail 

through the PBS Jungle" is available to AIVF 

members at www.aivf.org. An expanded version 

is available through xvww.forcsts.com/breadcntmb 



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l.uui.us Februan 2001 THE INDEPENDENT 71 





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Famous 

Director: Griffin Dunne 

Cinematographer: William Rexer II 

Editor: Nancy Baker 




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Editor in Chief: Patricia Thomson 

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Publication of any advertisement in 77ie Independent does not constitute an 
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All contents are copyright of the Foundation for Independent Video and Rim, Inc. 
Reprints require written permission and acknowledgement of the article's previous 
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Press Index and is a member of the Independent Press Association. 

© Foundation for Independent Video & Film, Inc. 2001 
AIVF/FIVF staff: Elizabeth Peters, executive director; Alexander Spencer, administra- 
tive director; Michelle Coe, program director; Thalia Harithas, membership coordina- 
tor; James Israel & Moikgantsi Kgama-Gates, information services assistants; Greg 
Gilpatrick & Joshua Sanchez, web consultants; Anne Hubbell, development associate; 
Melissa Ainley, Renee Griffith, Margot Hernandez, Noriko Yoshinaga. interns; 
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Visit The Independent online at: www.aivf.org 

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Halleck, Vivian Kleiman, Lee Lew-Lee, Graham Leggat*, Ruby Lerner*, Cynthia 
Lopez*, Jim McKay (chair), Robb Moss (vice president), Elizabeth Peters (ex officio), 
James Schamus*, Valeria Soe (secretary), Ellen Spiro, Bart Weiss. 
*riVF Board of Directors only. 



2 THE INDEPENDENT March 2001 



March 2001 

VOLUME 24, NUMBER 2 

www.aivf.org 



32 Christopher Nolan's 
Revenge Redux 

Christopher Nolan's refreshingly 
original and stylish second feature 
Memento, is an object lesson in 
storytelling, editing, and how 
memory works. 

sy Annie Nocenti 

36 Dream Makers 

The Dream Catcher team 
undertook an ambitious 
outreach program 
directed at youth in 
juvenile detention 
centers. Here's how 
.the did it. 

sy Julia Reichert 




40 Una Experiencia 
Sin Igual 

After La Ciudad played in New 
York arthouses, its director set 
out to rerelease the film in Latino 
sections of the city — and offers his 
distribution blueprint here. 

sy David Riker 



Upfront 

4 Editor's Note 
6 Letters 
9 News 

The latest convolutions in 
AMPAS's rules for qualifying 
shorts for the Oscars; Off the 
Press, a new story-idea service; 
Seattle's 911 takes the lead in 
streaming media; theme nights 
at ZDF. 

by Scott Castle; 
Jim Colvill; 
Shannon Gee; 
Claus Mueller 

15 Profiles 

Kathy Leichter & Jonathan 
Skurnik's A Day's Work, A Day's 
Pay; Steven Fischler &Joel 
Sucher's From Swastika to Jim 
Crow; Hannah Weyer's La Boda. 

by Richard Baimbridge; 
Aaron Krach; 
Jerry White 




20 Festival Circuit 

Gettin' funky with L.A. 
Freewaves; Dublin's new 
Doclands market and fest; 
indigenous films galore at 
IMAGINENative; an 
experimental fest debuts at 
Telluride. 

by Jim Moran; 

M.M. Serra; 

Donal 6'Ceilleachair 

Faye Ginsburg 



Departments 

27 Technology 

What to look for in a radio 
mic, plus tips for properly 
attaching a lavalier. 

by Larry Loewinger 



FAQ & Info 

43 Distributor FAQ 

MediaRights.org provides one- 
stop shopping for organizers 
looking for social-issue films 
and activist filmmakers looking 
for like-minded organizations. 
BY LlSSA GlBBS 

46 Funder FAQ 

Film Arts Foundation, a vital 
source of funding for Bay Area 
mediamakers, has five different 
grant programs. 

by Michelle Coe 

49 Festivals 
54 Notices 
58 Classifieds 

@AIVF 

61 Events 

62 In & Out of 
Production 

by Jim Colvill 

63 Salons 



Cover: Guy Pearce in Christopher 
Nolan's Memento. Photo by Danny 
Rothenberg 



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HEN I'M ASKED WHAT Dis- 
tinguishes The Independent 
from other film magazines, I tend to answer 
the question with a question: When is the 
last time you saw a story about media 
activism in those magazines/ Or video art? 
How about youth media? Or censorship, the 
culture wars, telecommunications, film hin- 
ders, self-distribution, or archival research? 

The list goes on. This magazine tries to 
reflect the diverse interests of AIVF's mem- 
bership — our core readers. So it's not 
unusual to see a profile of a new indie direc- 
tor in the same issue as a story on some 
enterprising documentary activist. 

What is unusual is to find those two ideas 
embedded in one project. In this issue, we're 
spotlighting two such cases, both of which 
unite dramatic feature filmmaking with an 
activist mentality. 

Producer Julia Reichert writes about the 
making of The Dream Catcher and how they 
used this feature about troubled youths to 
reach out to teens in prisons and juvenile 
detention centers — during the production 
process itself. And director David Riker 
relates how he used old-fashioned organiz- 
ing techniques and some new ideas about 
distribution to reach Latino audiences for 
the theatrical release of La Ciudad. Not sur- 
prisingly, both authors worked in documen- 
tary prior to fiction film. But neither forgot 
their political roots nor the practical lessons 
learned in the documentary arena. Both 
instances show that these worlds need not 
be so separate. 

A number of other activist projects are 
also profiled in this issue, including A Day's 
Work, A Day's Pay by Jonathan Skurnik and 
Kathy Leichter, who recruited the film's sub- 
jects as foot soldiers in the campaign to 
reform workfare in New York City. And 
there's MediaR ights.org, an exciting new 
conduit to distributors and individual film- 
makers who deal with social issue media. 

But to keep the mix, we also tip our hats 
to our idea of 'quality entertainment.' Every 
now and then, an independently produced 
commercial feature jumps out as particular- 
ly sharp, inventive, and masterfully con- 
ceived. Memento is one such case. While 
working within the tradition of film noir, 
writer/director Christopher Nolan manages 
to reinvent the genre and craft a superb 
script. In this issue, he talks about his chal- 
lenges as a writer and director — and he sets 
a good counter-example for all filmmakers 
fearing their sophomore slump. 

Patricia Thomson, editor in chief 



4 THE INDEPENDENT March 2001 






CO 




30 



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In an industry so full of changes, what's inside your 
camera may well be the one certainty. Film. At the 
same time, we realize the world is not standing still. 
And neither are you. Our imaging technologies will 
always evolve because you evolve. Your ideas fuel 
the future. And we're all about giving you what you 
want. What you need. And then some. So you can 
help keep the world turning. And our hearts racing. 



Make an informed choice when selecting your capture 
medium. Visit www.kodak.com/go/story for the whole story. 



there's more to the story 



SHARE AND SHARE ALIKE 

To the editor: 

Contrary to what's stated in Greg Gilpatrick's 
article ("Desktop Wizardry," January/February 
2001), shareware is not free software. Pro- 
grammers who use shareware distribution allow 
people to download the software and use it for 
a set number of times or days. If the software 
doesn't meet your needs, you don't pay; you 
simply delete the program from your hard disk. 
If you choose to continue using it, you have to 
pay for it. Freeware is software free of charge. 

Robert Goodman 
Philadelphia, PA 

AIRBALL 

To the editor: 

Though he is one of the film's producers, Fred 
Marx provided erroneous information for your 
documentary case study, "Hoop Dreams: The 
Ultimate Success Story" (November 2000). 

First and foremost, CPB did not give us a 
grant for $375,000, but rather $70,000. The 
MacArthur Foundation provided us with the 
largest and most important grant, $250,000, 
without which we could have never finished 
the film. Additionally, we received $50,000 



from PBS and several small grants from Illinois 
Arts Council, NEA Regional Fellowships, and 
a few private donors. 

The deferrals total of $140,000 that Fred 
provided refers to only the most significant 
"out-of-pocket" costs that had not been paid. 
Not included are much of the salaries and 
resources provided by Kartemquin Films and 
the filmmakers during the course of a seven- 
year project that involved nearly 200 days of 
shooting and over two years of editing. Add 
those real costs in and the deferral total was 
more like $1 million. 

Finally, the percentages are wrong for the 
split of revenue from the film. Here's the cor- 
rect division: 

Producers (3 @ 8.64%) 

Arthur & William (2 @ 8.64%) 

Arthur & William's families (2 @ 3.84%) 
High schools portrayed in film (3.2%) 
Secondary subjects 

(based on screen time) (0.80%) 

Kartemquin Films (8.64%) 

KTCA-TV (36.48%) 

Hoop Dreams may have hit "a homerun," as 
Fred is quoted as saying, but considering the 
enormity of the undertaking and the fact that 
the subjects participated in the income to a 



degree that may be unprecedented in docu- 
mentary film, the financial rewards for the 
filmmakers was a bit more sobering. Nowhere 
is this more clear than in the percentages 
taken by the production entities: Kartemquin 
Films, which made the film, and KTCA, our 
PBS station partner. This represents some of 
the inherent problems for independents trying 
to work within the public television system. 
But that's another story. 

Steve James & Gordon Quinn 

Director/Producer & Executive Producer, 

Hoop Dreams, Chicago, IL 

ERRATA 

In our coverage of the Independent Feature 
Project Market, "New Name, Same Old 
Market" [December 2000], we wrote that 
"ITVS's LInCS funds 2% of applicants." That 
figure is accurate for ITVS's Open Call, but 
not for LInCS, which funded 35% of appli- 
cants in 2000 and 22% in 1999. 

In the "Solaris Power" story [Jan/Feb 2001] 
Seth Shire should have been credited as post- 
production supervisor on Tumbleweeds, not 
Eitan Hakami, whose company, Post 
Production Playground, and Michael Williams 
did additional post supervision on the film. 

The Independent regrets these errors. 



CALL FOR ENTRIES 



Announcing the 

33rd Annual NCFR 

Media Aw^ dty 



National Council on Family Relations 
""onsors an annual MMia Awards 

♦ jA 

mpetition to recognize outstanding 

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E-mail: lbessey@ncrr.org 

Website: www.ncfr.org 

An international nonprofit organization focused on family research, policy, and practice. 




6 THE INDEPENDENT March 2001 




WE'RE FROM THE GOVERNMENT. 
WE'RE HERE TO HEEP YOU. 

Call us. Ask us about the weather. Our huge crew-hase. "No-lee" permitting. Tax exemptions. 

Incentives. Those great locations and stages you've heard about. Cannibal Vampire Schoolgirls from 

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. . .or order both Toolkit titles for $55 / $40 members 

Other essential resources for independents: 

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Kathryn Bowser, ed.; © 1996 + update supplement; $17 

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. .or order all three paperback titles for $40 / $30 members 




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The mission of the Association of Independent Video \ 
and Filmmakers (AIVF) is to increase the creative 
and professional opportunities for independent video 
and filmmakers and to ensure and enhance the growth 
of independent media by providing services, advocacy, 
and information. In these ways, AIVF promotes 
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expression of ideas and images. 

AIVF Founding Principles: 

1 The Association is an organization of and for independen 
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2 The Association encourages excellence, commitment 
and independence; it stands for the principle that video an' 
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3 The Association works, through the combined efforts ol 
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is dedicated to ensuring the survival and providing support 
for the continuing growth of independent video- and 
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4 The Association does not limit its support to one genre, 
ideology, or aesthetic, but fur+hers diversity of vision in 
artistic and social consciousness. 

5 The Association champions independent video and film 
as valuable, vital expressions of our culture, and is 
determined to open, by mutual action, pathways toward 
exhibition of this work to the community at large. 



£S^S) 



EDITED BY RICHARD B A I M BRIDGE 



Docs Get 
Their Due 

The Academy Grants Branch 
Status to Documentaries. 

by Scott Castle 



In 1941, Churchill's Island, a film 
chronicling the early days of Great 
Britain's defense against Germany during 
World War II, won the very first Academy 
Award for Best Documentary Film. Now, 
60 years and as many awards later, docu- 
mentary film was finally given its own 
branch on the Academy of Motion 
Picture Arts and Sciences' Board of 
Governors. This recognition of the histor- 
ical importance and ongoing vitality of 
documentary film comes at the end of a 
setback-riddled decade for the form. 

"Documentarians have played an 
important role in filmmaking since the 
beginning of the artform, whose first steps 
were essentially documentary in nature," 
says Academy president Robert Rehme in 
response to the decision. "By granting 
branch status to our documentary film- 
makers, the Academy is acknowledging 
the continuing importance of the century- 
old genre." 

"This is a big step," agrees documentar- 
ian Arthur Dong, who is a member of the 
Academy's Documentary Executive 
Committee (DEC) , the group responsible 
for securing the branch status. "This is the 
first time in Academy history that they've 
acknowledged our strengths as a branch, 
and that's really great," he says. "Branch 
formation is not easy for anybody. . . . Like 
any other organization, things take time." 

Considering how close to extinction 
the documentary short subject category 
has come recently, the decision could not 
be more timely. In 1992, the Academy's 
Board of Directors opted to do away with 
both the live -action and documentary 
shorts categories altogether, but an outcry 
from the filmmaking community ensued, 
and lobbying efforts, including a report 
that unanimously recommended retaining 
both awards, persuaded the board to 



rescind its decision. Then, in January of 
1999, the Academy combined the short 
and feature-length documentary cate- 
gories. Again, the category was snatched 
from the jaws of death by a letter signed 
by such industry leaders as Harvey 
Weinstein, Robert Redford, Michael 
Eisner, and Jeffrey Katzenberg criticizing 
the decision. This, as well as campaigns by 
AIVF and the International Document- 
ary Association (IDA), helped convince 
the Academy to reverse its decision. 

The new branch status for documen- 
taries is unique in that its only allotted 
one governor, in contrast to the three 
governors who represent each of the other 
13 branches and compile the board's 39 
voting members. When the Academy 
began in 1927, there were only five 
branches — for actors, directors, produc- 
ers, technicians, and writers — and the last 
branch addition was for visual effects in 
1995. The Documentary Branch's single 
governor, who will be selected in a July 
election, will have full voting privileges 
and Documentary Executive Committee 
Chairman Arnold Schwartzman doesn't 
believe the single allotment reflects any 
Academy bias against documentary but 
rather their prudent stance on keeping 
the number of governors down. "I think 
it's a step in the right direction and that 
it's only a matter of time before we get 
three governors," explains an optimistic 
Schwartzman. 

At the time of the initial 1 1 to 1 deci- 
sion to eliminate the documentary cate- 
gory, there were no documentary makers 
on the DEC. Today's committee includes 
such documentary luminaries as Arthur 
Dong, Barbara Kopple, and Errol Morris. 
In fact, nine of the 12 current members 
are either Oscar winners or former nomi- 
nees — a change welcomed by those in the 
documentary community. "Now that the 
Academy committee is made up of inde- 
pendent filmmakers. . . they hopefully can 
have an influence on the way the 
Academy views documentaries," says for- 
mer IDA acting executive director Grace 
Ouchida. 

Recently the DEC has made notable 
changes to the documentary feature nom- 
inating procedure. Previously this was 
open to any members (including non-doc - 
umentarians) who had the time to tackle 
the relentless screening schedule. 




Painter Dan Keplinger was the subject of Susan Hannah 
Hadary and William A. Whiteford's film King Gimp, which 
won last year's Oscar for Best Documentary Short after 
the category was reinstated. 

However, in practical terms it was limited 
to Southern California-based members, 
since the screenings only took place in 
Los Angeles. Now, the process involves 
only documentary makers and allows 
videotape screenings. 

The committee began its overhaul by 
recruiting approximately 80 documentari- 
ans who were members of the Academy to 
take part in a new prescreening process. 
Split into four subcommittees, the mem- 
bers screen videotapes (which is a notable 
allowance, considering the Academy's 
tight adherence to the theatrical experi- 
ence) to reduce their individual pools of 
12-15 films to three finalists. The com- 
piled finalists are then screened to the 
general membership in New York, San 
Francisco, and Los Angeles, which must 
see 10 of the 12 films before voting for five 
nominees. The last stage requires that 
members see all five nominated films 
before the final vote. This new process 
debuted last year and promises a more 
democratic system in the future. 

"This is the first year we'll bring that 
process into the shorts [category]. We 
tried it with the features first and that 
worked really well," explains Dong, who 
was instrumental in pushing the changes 
through. "Now that the DEC is becoming 
a branch, it will have to reexamine its 
processes, including who among its mem- 
bers will qualify to vote for the award," he 
adds. 

Recently, news came that the number 
of qualifying documentary shorts dropped 
20 percent in 2000, from a total o\ J5 to 
28 films. The reason is not from a short- 
age of documentary shorts out in the 
field — a look at the number of doc festi 
vals and submissions confirms that point. 
Rather, it seems to be due to the hurdles 



March 2001 THE INDEPENDENT 9 



SUMMERS ARE INTENSE @ NYU 




"Now that the Academy committee 

is made up of independent 

filmmakers, hopefully they can have 

an influence on the way the 

Academy views documentaries." 

- Grace Ouchida 



short documentaries face in qualifying. As 
it now stands, a documentary short must 
screen at least once a day for seven con- 
secutive days in a commercial theater in 
the borough of Manhattan or Los 
Angeles County to a paying audience. No 
easy feat. By contrast, fiction shorts only 
have to screen twice daily for three days. 
In 1995, the Academy voted to end festi- 
val screenings of documentaries for eligi- 
bility, a move the International Docu- 
mentary Association countered by found- 
ing the Doctober festival, which screens 
documentaries with the required seven- 
day required LA run. When Manhattan 
was later added as a qualifying location, 
HBO and the IDA began presenting the 
Frame -by-Frame festival, to qualify films 
on the east coast. 

Since the new tiered judging method 
lessens the burden on judges from seeing 
every film, there's a renewed effort to 
allow films to qualify through festivals — 
but only if they win. "By requiring that 
they be winners at these festivals, there's 
already a prescreening process done for 
us," adds Dong. "That's why I've been 
fighting for the last couple years to allow 
winners at festivals to qualify for Oscar 
consideration, and that's going to come 
through next year." 

With the newly recognized branch sta- 
tus, documentary film will fare better 
than ever within the Academy and docu- 
mentarians can rest a little easier know- 
ing that they have someone on the inside, 
a voice to represent their artform. But 
don't pack your documentary shorts off to 
festivals in hopes of qualifying quite yet. 
For one thing, the list of which festivals 
qualify has yet to be compiled, but more 
importantly, the move is not a sure thing. 
"Nothing's ever definite until we get that 
final rubber stamp from the Board of 
Governors," reminds Dong. 

Scott Castle is assistant editor at 
The Independent. 



10 THE INDEPENDENT March 2001 



@s^) 



Better than Fiction? 



Oflf The Press Debuts 



While true-life stories are often a 
good resource for script ideas, the actual 
research time involved can be daunting 
for filmmakers. But now Off The Press, a 
new web-based media research outfit, 
appears to have streamlined the process 
significantly. The 
web site cherry-picks 
from 200 publica- 
tions — including 
major dailies and city 
magazines, alterna- 
tive papers, and web 
sites — posting arti- 
cles on the site that 
they believe will pro- 
vide inspiration for 
scriptwriters. There 
are brief summaries 
of each article post- 
ed, and the site is relatively easy 
to navigate, which could poten- 
tially replace the cumbersome 
task of having to trawl through 
magazine after magazine. 

Although it does not carry 
the rights to the stories it posts 
(that is something the filmmak- 
er must pursue separately), Off 
The Press is effectively a 
research service. Once you see a 
story that you are interested in, 
the organization can research 
numerous databases and publi- 
cations for further articles on that topic 
with a "Snap Search." This costs $99, 
which includes the database search time, 
document download fee, and delivery. 
The results of the search are confidential 
and will not be posted on the site's 
archive. If your research requirements are 
more extensive, Off The Press can also 
put you in touch with one of its freelance 
researchers who will carry out confiden- 
tial custom research for an individually 
quoted price. 

Founded last September by Carolyn 
Chriss, who has worked extensively in the 
specialized field of movie and TV 
research, Off The Press has already 
amassed an impressive 15,000 stories. 
"Through my research work, I have come 
across hundreds of stories that would 



make excellent subjects for movies and 
TV shows," remarks Chriss, who has car- 
ried out research for films such as The 
Insider and Erin Brockovich. "There is 
nothing I enjoy more than to see those 
stories brought to life by talented writers." 
She says the site tries to cater to 
as wide an audience as possible 
by posting news stories from 
many different categories — sci- 
ence, technology, law, and crime 
to name a few. Her aim is to 
attract filmmakers of all back- 
grounds, from low-budget inde- 
pendents to studio financed 
Hollywood productions. 

Michael Bortman, a screen- 
writer for 20 years, 
recently discovered 
Off The Press and is 
already a strong sup- 
porter: "The point 
| of view behind the 
selection of articles 
really takes into 
account what writ- 
ers and producers 
look for in a story," 
he says. He also 
stresses the conve- 
nience of the site, as 



well as the 
flexible 
payment 

methods, which vary depending on how 
long you wish to use the site. Twenty-four 
hours of access costs only $5, allowing 
customers to explore the site without 
having to make a big financial commit- 
ment. If additional time is required, a 
month's access costs just $30, and a year 
is $300. 

A quick tour of the site (www.offthe 
press.org) allows you to look at sample 
articles featured on the site for no charge. 
Don't be surprised if you see one that gets 
you hooked. 

Jim Colvill 

]im Colvill is an editorial intern at 
The Independent. 




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Slogans like "broadband is the future" 
and press releases touting "mass consumer 
audiences" have come to sound more like 
the empty promises of politicians than the 
real future of entertainment. Some recent 
casualties include Pop.com, which failed 
despite its Hollywood pedigree, and the 
pioneering Atom Films, which closed its 
Seattle offices and cut staff to realign with 
the San Francisco -based Shockwave. Yet 
there are some web sites pledged to show- 
ing independent artists' work in noncom- 
petitive environs — commercial-free havens 
where pop-up ads, IPOs, and stock values 
stay refreshingly out of the equation. 

One such place is WebFlicks.org, the 
streaming media portal for the Seattle- 
based nonprofit 911 Media Arts. 911 sup- 
ports media artists in four major areas: 
creation, education, exhibition, and dis- 
tribution. And while exhibition has tradi- 
tionally meant a screen in a darkened the- 
ater, 911 can now add home computers to 
its list of 
venues. Peter . , __ __ 

Mitchell, ;|| praps- 

911's screen- 
ihgs curator, 
webmaster 

and WebFlicks designer says, "WebFlicks' 
ultimate goal is to increase participation 
in viewing and creating new media, as 
well as showing people that there are a lot 
of [alternative] messages out there." 
Mitchell contends that movie audiences 
are often subjected to the same three 
standard plots: "falling in love, wouldn't it 
be great if you were rich, and topics that 
support the military industrial complex." 
WebFlicks.org offers an alternative to box 
office fare by streaming 911 members' 
short films. "People who are interested in 
non-commercial, non-traditional forms of 
media can come to this place and find out 
what's being created here," says Mitchell. 
One example is David Donar's mush- 
room masterpiece Fergie's Fungi, which 
headlines the animation section at 
WebFlicks.org. Donar, who has had his 
work shown on MTV and at the popular 
Spike and Mike animation festival, is 
savvy to the ins and outs of content 
licensing on the Internet, but was eager to 
present his work on 91 l's site. "It's a great 
place to get not only exposure, but also a 
good way for me to give back," he says. 



aspect of the 
site is that artists on WebFlicks.org retain 
the rights to their work, giving them the 
option to license it to other companies. 
Director Dave Hannigan adds this isn't 
the only benefit of having his films shown 
on the site. "I've been getting good feed- 
back," he says. (The web site gets about 
100 unique visitors a day.) "It's an award 
in itself just to get an audience." 

WebFlicks.org began as a screening 
series for video works that were down- 
loaded from the web and subsequently 
projected-a process that commercial the- 
aters are currently taking to new levels. 
The site has since evolved into a web- 
streaming channel for artists' work. 

Content-wise, it differs from most com- 
mercially-oriented ventures by being less 
concerned with site traffic than with with 
creating a platform for artists. To that 
end, WebFlicks provides welcome oppor- 
tunities to groups like documentarians 
(affiliating with the local PBS station), as 
well as media artists, and even kids. 



"I only have my film on a tape," 
explains 14-year-old Michael Matas, 
whose film Lost Keys (which was created 
under the auspices of 91 l's Young 
Producers' Program) is featured on the 
site. "I can't get the tape out to all of my 
friends. But now I have it on the [911] 
web site where even my grandmother 
who lives in Las Vegas can look at it." 

Creating a site like WebFlicks.org isn't 
easy of course, but it's a challenge that 
Mitchell says other media access centers 
across the country are capable of taking 
on. 911 turned to companies like 
Speakeasy.net and PlayStream.com for 
WebFlicks.org's hosting solutions, while 
911 volunteers built the server out of 
donated computers. Tech industry profes- 
sionals were invited to teach classes at 
91 l's educational wing, thus creating a 
staff that could eventually run the site on 
its own, having learned skills in encoding 
and video compression. 

Was it crucial that 91 1 is only a byte's 
distance from companies like Microsoft 
and Real Networks? "It helped," says 
Mitchell, "because there are so many peo- 



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pie speaking the language of technology." 

Still, Mitchell is convinced that a site 
like WebFlicks.org is not unique to Seattle 
and can and should be done at other 
media organizations around the country. 
"There's a reason why people join togeth- 
er at these community centers. Let's link 
them up!" he says. The dedicated com- 
munity model helped create WebFlicks. 
org, and it will also insure its growth. The 
potential of numerous media centers com- 
ing on-line will make it easier to share 
resources, preview works, and organize 
screenings. "How many of these dot-coms 
are now on the skids because the people 
involved lost the vision?" asks Mitchell. 
Indeed, if a dot-com had the consistent 
support from volunteers to filmmakers to 



board members that WebFlicks.org has 
experienced, it would be a tremendous 
boost to both vitality and viability. At 
WebFlicks.org, the revenue is the collabo- 
rative content itself, not ad revenue. "I 
guess the message to readers in other arts 
centers is to get busy! Get busy, make that 
website, get it up there!" encourages 
Mitchell. "There are people in these arts 
centers willing to donate their time, skills 
and support. Take advantage of that 
model. There are a million dot-coms that 
would die to have that." 

Shannon Gee 

Shannon Gee, a freelance writer, film critic, and 
documentary producer based in Seattle, co-pro- 
duced Conscience and the Constitution, which 
premiered on PBS last fall. 



ZDF/ARTE THEME NIGHTS 



The following list of ZDF/Arte's upcom- 
ing theme nights was accidentally omit- 
ted from "Arte's Mark," by Claus Mueller 
[December 2000 — see www.aivf.org], an 
article that looked at the upscale 
German-French television channel Arte. 
Each theme night is listed with its com- 
missioning editor. Since these are in var- 
ious stages of development, ZDF urges 
that interested filmmakers should ascer- 
tain from the commissioning editor what 
the status of each theme night is before 
submitting proposals or tapes. In future 
issues, The Independent will publish a reg- 
ular update of planned theme nights by 
ZDF and other public broadcasters. 

Of Sheep and Shepherds (Anke 
Lindenkamp: lindenkamp.A@ZDF.de) 
Sheep, flocks, and shepherds and how 
we relate to them from mythological, 
economic, and historical perspectives. 
The Dream House (Doris Hepp and 
Sabine Bubeck-Paaz: Hepp.D@ZDF.de 
& Bubeck.S@ZDF.de) Our dream-house 
Utopias in the First and Third World. 
Betrayal (Hepp and Susanne Mertens: 
Mertens.S@ ZDF.de) Analysis of the 
current personal and political meanings 
of "treason" and "traitors" and the con- 
sequences that follow. 
Family Models at the Turn of the 
Millennium (Mertens) Search for and 
identification of current family types and 
what the future will bring. 
Cleaner, Cleaner! An Evening around 
Cleaning (Mertens) On the need and 



obsession with cleanliness and the 
conflict it generates in marriages and 
communal living. 

Street Life (Kathrin Brinkmann: 
brinkmann.K@ZDF.de) The street as 
theater and arena for conflicts generating 
unique experiences and encounters. 
Fast Food (Bubeck-Paaz and Mertens) 
Consequences of that vast industry for 
our world and environment, and the sto- 
ries that emerge from the fast food places 
we frequent; an international journey. 
Megalomania (Hepp) Think Big as the 
topic for our time: greatness or megalo- 
mania? In our daily experiences, politics, 
medicine, architecture. 
Mirror, Mirror on the Wall (Brink- 
mann) The mirror as an instrument of 
self-recognition leads to a thematic jour- 
ney into reflections, delusions, fantasies. 
The Typewriter (Bubeck-Paaz) Role of 
the invention of typewriters for women's 
entry into the labor force and the coming 
of the information economy, emancipat- 
ing and backgrounding women. 
The Legacy of Frankenstein (Brink- 
mann) Biomedical technologies trans- 
form the body and dissolve boundaries 
between man and machine, reality and 
virtual reality, obliterating the notion of 
identity. 

Summer Lust & Cravings for the Sea 
(Brinkmann) Our craving for summer 
freshness and the air of the sea, for 
amusement parks and spas, for the place 
where the earth, water, and air merge. 

Claus Mueller 



14 THE INDEPENDENT March 2001 



(^^^) 



Jonathan Skumik & 
Kathy Leichter 

A DAY'S WORK, A DAY'S PAY 

by Richard Baimbridge 



Jonathan Skurnik and 
Kathy Leichter have taken 
the term "media activism" 
to a level rarely before wit- 
nessed. The directing part- 
ners' first documentary, A 
Day's Work, A Day's Pay, is 
a bold, grassroots campaign 
that employs its subjects as 
foot soldiers. Their mission: 
to overturn laws that are 
oppressing New York's wel- 
fare recipients, while challenging deep 
prejudices about welfare, and empowering 
the powerless. 

"I've seen just the footage from our 
trailer spark so much discussion," says 
Leichter, sitting in the editing room of 
Mint Leaf Productions, as interviews from 
the film play silently in the background. 
"Early on we showed some footage to the 
community groups we were working with, 
and immediately they responded with all 
these intense emotions — frustration, 
anger, and ideas." The faces on the screen 
are those of welfare recipients forced by 
the City of New York to work for their 
benefits in a program called "workfare" 
(or "WEP"), initiated by Mayor Giuliani 
in conjunction with the 1996 federal 
Welfare Reform Act. The theory is to 
make people personally liable for "paying 
back" the welfare benefits they receive by 
working menial jobs for approximately 30 
hours per week, at the equivalent of min- 
imum wage. On the surface that might 
not sound like such a bad idea. But the 
reality is that far from helping people 
break out of poverty (as Roosevelt's WPA 
program at least made an effort to do dur- 
ing the Great Depression), workfare is dri- 
ving many of them deeper into poverty 
and despair — confining people who often 
have skills to mindless, unskilled labor, 
while depriving them of basic rights and 
benefits, including the right to unionize. 

That much is clear once you've seen A 



Day's Work, A Day's Pay (a title echoing 
the rally cry of workfare workers organiz- 
ing an "illegal" union to fight for the same 
rights and salary as their City employee 
counterparts doing the exact same work 
receive). To make people more aware of 
the issues and get them directly involved, 
Skurnik and Leichter are enlisting an 
army of workfare workers to hit the 




streets, set up screenings in community 
centers, hold discussions, and take imme- 
diate actions. One example Skurnik cites 
would be holding a protest immediately 
after a screening at a college where WEP 
workers are being forced to clean, instead 
of receiving educations. The outrage 
would be fueled, he says, by the knowl- 
edge that 18,000 people have been forced 
to drop out of college in order to fulfill 
their workfare obligations. 

Skurnik and Leichter will also pursue 
television distribution (the documentary 
was funded by ITVS and several small 
foundations, and will be offered to PBS 
stations this year). But from the start, the 
project has been about learning from, and 
directly involving people in workfare, 
rather than speaking down to them or 
reducing them to facts and figures. "One 
of the main reasons we made the film was 
to allow people who are in the workfare 
program to tell their side of the story," 
Leichter says. "Welfare recipients have 
always been numbers, statistics, or small 
anecdotes in TV segments. To make them 
real people and to get to know them is 
critical, so the audience says, 'Oh, this is 
what a single mother on welfare has to go 
through.' Or 'This guy got out of workfare 
and became an organizer, but he's dealing 
with some stuff that is really hard for him.' 
That's the only way we're gonna touch 
people. [Viewers] may respond to the 
issues, but they'll respond more to who 
these people are." 



What caught Leichter and Skurnik 
somewhat by surprise, however, was just 
how loud and eloquent the voices of those 
people could potentially be. People like 
Juan Galan, who helped create the first 
WEP union under the threat of partici- 
pants losing their welfare benefits com- 
pletely. Galan has gone on to establish a 
career as a powerful organizer of Latinos 
in the restaurant and hotel industry. The 
story of his personal evolution, and similar 
stories from other men and women in the 
documentary, serve as much more than a 
pleasant backdrop to the political issues. 
In a sense, they are the crux of A Day's 
Work, A Day's Pay. Yet that fact has also 
made the film more complex for Skurnik 
and Leichter to handle. 

"After we looked at media coverage and 
the kind of people [the media] were 
choosing to interview, who were almost 
always portrayed as victims of poverty or 
of the system, we very consciously decid- 
ed to portray our characters as agents of 
their own fate," Skurnik says. "Our chal- 
lenge now in the edit room is how much 
of the film is about the characters and 
how much is about the workfare issues?" 

Former classmates, Leichter and 
Skurnik both come from strong political 
activist backgrounds. They were re-intro- 
duced while working on separate produc- 
tion projects and decided to collaborate 
on a project. Each came up with a list of 
possible ideas, most of which pertained to 
social issues. "Workfare was a common 
interest that seemed to have the most to 
offer as a social-issue documentary, 
because so much was happening at the 
time," Skurnik says. Yet while working on 
this film, Leichter and Skurnik have also 
had the pleasure of standing back and let- 
ting their subjects educate them as to 
what "activism" truly entails. 

As Juan Galan says in bitter frustration 
during one particularly powerful scene: 
"To really face something in the eye is one 
of the scariest things you will ever do. You 
find out a lot about your fears, your 
detects, and a lot ot times you can only 
take a quick glimpse, then turn away 
because you're scared of it. You rc.ilK are." 

Mint Leaf Productions can he contact- 
ed at: (212) 952-0121. For further info.: 
www.pbs.org rromswastikatojimcrow 

Richard Baimbridge served as managing 

editor for this issue of The Independent. 



March 2001 THE INDEPENDENT 15 




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Steven Fischkr & 
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FROM SWASTIKA TO JIM CROW 

by Aaron Krach 



the routes and rewards of this cross-cul- 
tural experience, then follows the fate 
of these scholars as the Black Power 
movement changed the tone of these 
colleges during the sixties. 
Under the auspices of their production 
company, Pacific Street Films, Sucher 
and Fischler worked for the first few 



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The history of race relations in 
America is filled with bizarre and 
painful twists. Just when tensions 
seem to be cooling, a burst of anger 
or hatred can flare up. During the 
1990s, while President Clinton was 
throwing his weight behind a presi- 
dential commission on race, African 
American and Jewish relations 
became particularly strained over 
the anti-Semitic rhetoric of extreme 
black leaders. The inflammatory 
speeches of Nation of Islam leader 
Khalil Mohammed at Howard University, 
for instance, upset many. One man 
named John Herz, a professor at Howard 
during the 1940s, decided to write a let- 
ter to the New York Times about his feel- 
ings. 

Filmmakers Joel Sucher and Steven 
Fischler of Westchester, New York, vivid- 
ly remember reading that letter. "It said, T 
remember when Black colleges extended 
a hand to refugee Jewish scholars,' 
Sucher recalls. "And the writer went on 
to cite his own experience teaching at 
Howard University in the 1940s, being a 
refugee from Germany. The writer turned 
out to live in Scarsdale, only about five 
minutes away from our office. In the clos- 
ing paragraph, he cited a book, From 
Swastika to Jim Crow, written by Gabriel 
Edgcomb, chronicling some of the stories 
of these refugee scholars. We contacted 
Herz with some difficulty and got copies 
of the book." And thus began Sucher and 
Fischler's eponymously named documen- 
tary, which aired on PBS in February. 

Using archival footage and talking 
heads, the hour-long film looks at a little - 
known chapter in both Jewish and Black 
history. Escaping Nazism, dozens of 
Jewish scholars fled to the U.S., but, 
despite impeccable academic credentials, 
most were rebuffed by white universities. 
Many eventually found new homes at the 
rising Black colleges. The film looks at 




years on their own. Then they brought in 
director Laurie Cheatle and editor Marty 
Taub. 

As filmmaking partners, Sucher and 
Fischler have been making socially-con- 
scious films since 1969. From Swastika to 
Jim Crow fit perfectly into their resume of 
social justice films like The Imprisonment 
of Martin Sostre (1974) and Anarchism in 
America (1981). In spite of their experi- 
ence and success — the duo has won 
Guggenheim Fellowships, Emmy Awards, 
Cine Golden Eagles, and the John 
Grierson Award for Social Document- 
aries — making From Swastika to Jim Crow 
was not easy. In fact, it took almost six years. 

"One program officer at the Corpor- 
ation for Public Broadcasting basically 
said, 'Oh it sounds like a good print arti- 
cle,' " Sucher recalls. "Jewish foundations 
tend to be conservative, especially when 
it comes to film. We were lucky that the 
Litutia Littauer Foundation gave us a few 
grand to commence production in 1996. 
Then the National Foundation for Jewish 
Culture came through with another rela- 
tively large grant." Later, he continues, 
"we were able to get the finishing funds 
from ITVS, but [the whole fundraising 
process] wasn't easy." 

Far easier was getting the students and 
professors to reminisce. A recurring emo- 
tion seen throughout the film is gratitude. 
The professors express gratitude to the 



16 THE INDEPENDENT March 2001 



Black colleges for hiring them after their 
expulsions from Germany. They are also 
grateful to the students for adopting them 
as their teachers. The students inter- 
viewed are equally moved to remember 
their favorite professors. 

"Everyone was extremely open and 
excited to have this particular history 
documented," says Fischler, "from the sur- 
viving refugee scholars and their family 
members to the students who saw it as a 
chance to document a unique and impor- 
tant history. A lot of the scholars didn't 
realize they were part of a movement, 
because so much of this happened on an 
individual, ad-hoc basis. So not until you 
stand back and get some perspective do 
you recognize this is more important than 
just individual stories." 

To Fischler and Sucher, documentary 
filmmaking is bigger than individual sto- 
ries as well. "Our point of view, ever since 
we started making social issue films," says 
Sucher, "is that documentary films should 
be used to provoke or trigger thinking and 
discussion of relevant issues — in this case, 
racism and Black-Jewish relations." 

To this end, the filmmakers have been 
taking their film on the road, in concert 
with ITVS' outreach program, screening 
it to mixed audiences and holding discus- 
sions afterwards. "We like to have these 
screenings co-sponsored by different orga- 
nization," says Sucher. "For example, we 
just did one in Baltimore that was spon- 
sored by the Jewish Museum in Baltimore 
and the Maryland NAACR There's a 
study guide that's been written and dis- 
tributed by the Anti-Defamation League 
for use in these screening discussions. A 
number are being coordinated with the 
PBS broadcast." 

It is exactly this kind of extra- cinemat- 
ic experience that has kept Sucher and 
Fischler motivated over the last 30 years. 
"We have a social/political commitment 
to certain themes and ideas which we get 
to put into practice [through filmmak- 
ing]," says Fischler. "Where else do you 
get that opportunity?" 

For more information on From Swastika 
to ]im Crow, contact: Pacific Street Films, 
579 Broadway, Hastings-on-Hudson, NY 
1 0706; www.pacificstreetfilms.com 

Aaron Krach writes regularly about film. His last 

article for The Independent was about the 

docuvientary Keep the River on Your Right in 

December 2000. 



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Hannah Weyer 

LA BODA & LA ESCUELA 

by Jerry White 



"I HAD ALL THESE MISCONCEPTIONS ABOUT 
migrant life," mediamaker Hannah Weyer 
admits, "and she continues to dash 
those." Weyer is talking about 
Elizabeth Luis, the young woman 
at the center of her video La Boda. 
Weyer spent about two years docu- 
menting the everyday life of the 
Luis family, American citizens who 
live between Texas, California, and 
Mexico as migrant laborers. The 
end result was a feature-length 
documentary about the wedding 
(La Boda) of this young woman to 
Artemio Guerrero, also a migrant 
worker but a Mexican citizen. Shot 
on video, it focuses on preparations 
for the wedding ceremony, but has as its 
real subject Elizabeth's attempt to create 
a life for herself, to come fully into adult- 
hood. These attempts are complicated by 
her very tightly-knit family and by the 
struggles and possibilities that are unique 
to migrant life. The family is shown to be 
part of a very supportive community, 
although their lifestyle is often defined by 
distance and separation. La Boda is, 
above all, a family chronicle, seen 
through the eyes of an oldest daughter on 
the eve of her wedding. 

This intimate and engaging documen- 
tary, which played widely on the festival 
circuit, is now heading into schools 
through various outreach programs, and 
is feeding directly into the director's next 
project, a documentary tentatively called 
La Escuela ("the school"). The sequel will 
have Elizabeth's younger sister Lilliana at 
its center. "The story is much broader in 
scope," Weyer says, "because one of the 
main threads is the public school system 
and how it deals with migrant students 
and bi-lingual education." 

Ironically, when Weyer first started this 
enterprise, she had no intention of mak- 
ing a documentary. Her experience had 
been with dramatic fiction — the feature 




Arresting Gena (1997) and the widely 
exhibited short The Salesman and Other 
Adventures (1994). For her next pro- 
ject, Weyer originally planned to make 
a feature about the border, one that 
mixed fiction and documentary. While 
scouting for that project, she met the 
Luis family. "As I was still working on a 
larger screenplay, I just kept going back 
to visit them, and they ended up invit- 
ing me to come to Texas," she recalls. As 
prospects for the feature began to dwin- 
dle, Weyer continued to visit the Luis 
family, and the idea of 
a documentary began 
to take hold. "The 
more I spent time with 
them, the more 
[Elizabeth's] story took 
over," says Weyer. The 
daughter's wedding ul- 
timately was the 
device that could tie 
together all the film's 
characters and themes. 
Weyer is now doing 
quite a bit of outreach 
to youth. The video is slated to play at the 
National Migrant Conference later this 
month in Orlando, Florida, where she'll 
run a workshop on how to use La Boda in 
the classroom. She is also hard at work 
preparing a study guide, which she hopes 
will help the film become part of curricu- 
la all over the country, especially in places 
that have less experience with migrant 
workers. "A lot of these school districts in, 
say, Minnesota or Georgia, are totally not 
equipped yet," Weyer says. "La Boda could 
be ' a starting point, and especially La 
Escuela later on." 

To help facilitate the documentaries' 
classroom use, Weyer plans to break them 
down into shorter units. "I'd like to make 
three or tour versions of a 10-minute 
video tool, each one assisting a different 
group," she says. For example, one might 
be for a teacher's college whose alumni 
are likely to work in regions with a high 
percentage of migrant families. "That tool 
would specifically address the things that 
migrant students need, but they'd be told 
from the point of view of the student," the 
director explains. That tape might include 
footage from La Boda or La Escuela of a 
student talking about his or her everyday 
life. "Another version would be a 10- to 



18 THE INDEPENDENT March 2001 



15-minute tape that could be used in 
junior high school classes to help sensitize 
the communities who wonder, 'Who are 
these kids? What do they want?' " 

Study guides for La Boda are being pre- 
pared in collaboration with the Human 
Rights Watch Film Festival, which also 
helped bring the video to two Brooklyn 
high schools, El Puente and Global. "One 
of the schools wantedto focus on global- 
ization," Weyer recalls, who at that point 
realized her agenda in making the film 
might not directly coincide with that of 
teachers who show the film. "Then the 
question becomes, 'How do you use a film 
about a very personal story and not objec- 
tify these very real people" when dealing 
with them on a political level? 

That question was also on her mind at 
the Human Rights Watch Film Festival 
last June. At one screening when 
Elizabeth and Artemio were present, the 
audience asked clearly political questions. 
"It was hard on her," Weyer recalls, 
"because I don't think she's a political 
person" — a fact that's evident in the film. 
Nonetheless, "the audience wanted her to 
be politicized; they wanted to politicize 
her." This felt inorganic to Weyer, who 
didn't conceive of La Boda as an activist 
film. "That's not how I like to tell stories." 

Indeed, rather than starting from a 
desire to directly effect political change, 
it's clear that Weyer made the film 
because she thinks Elizabeth's life is a 
worthwhile and revealing story. For 
Weyer, the events leading up to the mar- 
riage were full of conflicted feelings about 
familial loyalty and independence, of the 
giddy anticipation of starting a life with 
someone, and of the realization that living 
your life between cultures and places 
offers as much as it demands. Commun- 
icating those issues was itself a significant 
contribution to understanding migrant 
life. "There are different ways to be polit- 
ical," she concludes. 

La Boda is distributed by Women Make 
Movies [laboda@wmm.com] . For further 
information on this and La Escuela, con- 
tact: Border Pictures, Inc., 241 Eldridge 
St. #3F, New York, 10002; (212) 642- 
5914; hannahweyer@hotmail.com 

Jerry White is a Killiam doctoral fellow m 

Comparative Literature at the 

University of Alberta. 




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March THE INDEPENDENT 19 



Air Raids 

L.A. Freewaves' 
Celebration of Experimental 
Media Arts 

by Jim Moran 



Since 1989, L.A. Freewaves has been 
raiding institutions dominated by tradi- 
tional art and commercial entertainment 
in an effort to find alternative spaces for 
the public display of experimental media 
in Southern California. Once again this 
indomitable organization has bucked the 
system with Air Raids, its seventh festi- 
val, held last fall throughout the month of 
November. Miraculously, as venues for 
socially and formally challenging work 
dwindle, executive director Anne Bray 
and festival director JoAnn Hanley man- 
aged to ferret out a number of unusual 
and imaginative spaces for their city-wide 
event, testifying to their determination 
and creativity. 

Some of the quirkier affairs included 
the "MacadamFest," a film and video 
drive-in hosted at the Rose Bowl in 
Pasadena, which typically schedules 
sporting events. Equally unconventional, 
the festival's finale was held at the 
Vermont Music Cafe, a traditional 
karaoke club in Koreatown, where 
patrons could view new work by Nam 
June Paik from comfortable couches in 
their own private viewing rooms. And 
throughout the festival, Tony Cokes 
beamed 30- second video segments from 
electronic billboards in Hollywood, 
appropriating the language of advertising 
to critique the interactions of desire and 
commerce in capitalist culture. 

Defying expectations has always been 
the hallmark of Freewaves festivals. They 
might ask, "Why confine digital art solely 
to the diminutive monitor?" then answer 
it spectacularly by something like "Images 
We Want to See Big," an installation at 
the MOCA Geffen Contemporary. 
Projecting works on the walls of the 
museum, this show burst the confines of 
typical video venues by appropriating the 
larger-than-life stimulus of cinema. 
Moving through a cavernous space remi- 



niscent of Plato's cave, spectators inter- 
mittently cast their own shadows against 
floor-to-ceiling visions projected from 
behind. Among the works projected were 
Shawn Chapelle's Far Reaches, in which 
science and the occult merge in a cabala 
of colliding images traversing the outer 
limits and internal recesses of time, space, 
religion, technology, and anatomy. James 
Elaine and William Basinski's Fountain 
made literal the metaphor of electronic 
flow by magnifying images of water to 
refract an undulating prism of rainbow 
colors. And Steina's Warp, a delirious 
exercise in digital manipulation, trans- 
formed the pedestrian movements of the 
human body into an exotic, hyperbolic 
dance of uncommon grace. 

Reprising the popular video bus tours of 
1998, this year's screening-rooms- on- 

Milla Moilanen's animated film Wanted, which screened in 
late 19th century archival materials. 




wheels once again navigated land- 
marks generally bypassed on com- 
mercial tours of Southern 
California, from hidden labor in 
Los Angeles to forgotten histories 
in Echo Park. Spaces literally 
"came out" during the Queer Star 
Maps tour. Acting as guide 
Outfest programmer Desiree 
Buford pointed out important 
sites in L.A.'s queer history, 
including hot nightclubs, headquarters of 
gay and lesbian cooperatives, and the Will 
Rogers park in Beverly Hills, where curi- 
ous tourists got off the bus to photograph 
the men's room where George Michael 
was arrested for illicit exposures of his 
own. During the excursion, a program of 
six shorts celebrated queer icons such as 



Judy Garland (Mark Bowes' Get Happy or 
the Night Judy Garland Started a Riot), 
Lupe Velez (Rita Gonzalez's The 
Assumption of Lupe Velez), and Joe 
Dellasandro (Steve Kokker's Happiness Is 
Just a Thing Called Joe) . Of special note 
was Pratibha Parmar's documentary Jodie: 
An Icon, which thoroughly examined the 
process by which lesbian spectators have 
psychologically constructed Jodie Foster's 
onscreen persona into a cinematic object 
of desire capable of transforming appar- 
ently heterosexual narratives into latent 
homoerotic encounters. 

Moving from physical neighborhoods to 
the virtual communities of the Internet, 
"Street Action on the Superhighway," 
held at the UCLA EDA space, presented 
an intellectually provocative demonstra- 
tion of Net Art that was simultaneously 
streamed on 
the "Altered" program, utilizes the web. The 

panelists 

demonstrated 
various tactics 
for trespassing 
into politically 
charged 
spheres of cul- 
tural practice 
by traversing 
virtual spaces 
with uninvited 
interventions. 
Among the 



Some of the quirkier affairs 

included the "MacadamFest," a 

film and video drive-in hosted at 

the Rose Bowl in Pasadena, and 

the festival's finale, held at the 

Vermont Music Cafe, a traditional 

Karaoke club in Koreatown. 



engaging "hacktivists" who specialize in 
electronic civil disobedience, Cornelia 
Sollfrank of the Old Boys Network dis- 
cussed her 1997 project to infiltrate a 
Hamburg fine art museum's first spon- 
sored Internet art competition with 300 
falsified submissions by fictional female 
artists. Mervin Jarman, creator of the 



20 THE INDEPENDENT March 2001 



Container Project, related his efforts to 
provide diverse Jamaican communities 
with free access to computer equipment. 
And Ricardo Dominguez of the Electronic 
Disturbance Theater demonstrated 
FloodNet software developed to deny users 
access to politically targeted web sites. 

This year's 14 video programs were 
lucky enough to be screened at Side Street, 
a relatively new downtown organization 
boasting state-of-the-art projection and 
audio facilities. Curated according to com- 
mon themes rather than genres or formats, 
each program's individual works 
approached the topic from multiple per- 
spectives, offering a heady blend of fact 
and fiction, narrative and collage, figure 
and abstraction, humor and sobriety. From 
Chicano visions and labor issues to youth 
culture and pornography, this eclectic 
smorgasbord offered something for every- 
one while managing to avoid the blandly 
predictable. Two outstanding works worth 
special mention are Milla Moilanen's 
Wanted, a fluid, polished piece of anima- 
tion based on late 19 century archival 
materials designed to establish ethnic pro- 
files rooted in biology. Set to a haunting 
score, the video reverses notions of racial 
superiority by illustrating the beauty of 
human diversity. The other, Chris Wilcha's 
The Target Shoots First, is a video diary of 
epic proportions. Bringing his camcorder 
to work every day at his first job with 
Columbia House, the former punk rocker 
manages to expose the human foibles, 
bureaucratic absurdities, and plays for 
power that typify corporate America — all 
with sharp insight and slacker irony. 

Interrogating the mainstream is, after 
all, a primary goal of Freewaves. As the so- 
called independent film and video scene in 
Los Angeles blurs into boutique divisions 
of Hollywood studios, Air Raids remained 
true to the original spirit of independence 
defined by the pioneers of New American 
Cinema: independent not merely finan- 
cially, but aesthetically, politically, and ide- 
ologically as well. Fearlessly taking risks, 
the artists showcased throughout the festi- 
val celebrate new ways of seeing, while 
Bray and Hanley invite new ways of being 
seen. The result is truly visionary. 

Jim Moran is a writer, teacher, and consultant in 

Los Angeles. He has published in Film Quarterly, 

Wide Angle, Filmmaker, and RES magazines 

and is currently writing a book on amateur video 

for the University of Minnesota Press. 



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HIGH LIGHTS 

Telluride s Experimental 
Cinema Exposition 

BY M.M Serra 



After a 12 -hour, multi-leg travel 
nightmare, I arrived at the first Telluride 
International Experimental Cinema 
Exposition (TIE), held on 
Halloween weekend. Exquisitely 
beautiful, Telluride is nestled in the 
Uncomphagre Mountains, and the 
autumn leaves enhanced the magi- 
cal setting. TIE founder 
Christopher May told me that he 
selected Telluride because it is 
"hard to forget" and "hard to tra- 
verse." May, who has attended the 
better-known Telluride Film 
Festival for the last several years, 
noted that Telluride's seclusion ensures 
the dedication and passion of the festival 
participants. May wanted to create an 
experimental festival not focused on 
"stars', money, and marketing," but driven 
by passion for the "creative process" and 
the "personal vision of film artists." I pre- 
sented a program that reflected my own 
passion, a historical overview of sexually 
explicit films by women artists, including 
Barbara Rubin, Carolee Schneemann, 
Abigail Child, Peggy Ahwesh, and myself. 

May works for Maverick Records 
(Madonna's label) as a regional represen- 
tative in Colorado, but is also a filmmaker 
and used strips of his own films to make 
the festival passes. He selected the festival 
films himself after posting a call for entries 
on the Internet. Only submissions on film 
were accepted — no videos, digital works, 
or otherwise. Through the Internet, May 
also found Courtney Hoskins, who curat- 
ed a program of classic avant-garde films 
by Maya Deren, Kenneth Anger, and Stan 
Brakhage as a fundraiser, but May provid- 
ed the majority of the funding out of his 
own pocket, ending up thousands of dol- 
lars in debt to realize his dream. 

One of the festival highlights was a 
workshop for children organized by 
Hoskins. Children from eight to 1 1 years 
old created films by scratching and paint- 
ing on the film surface. Their films were 
then projected at the main festival. 
Colorado native Jim Otis presented a pro- 



gram of his masterful landscape films, as 
well as his Vervielfaltigung, which synthe- 
sizes human body types to a musical tone. 
I was particularly impressed by the pro- 
gram of experimental 35mm films because 
of its aesthetic diversity and range of 
vision. Especially outstanding was Nicole 
Koschmann's Fishing for Brad, which she 
describes as "a provocative look into 
human sexuality [that] juxtaposes two 
seemingly unrelated images [an erotic 




The eternally picturesque town of Telluride, nestled 
high in the Rocky Mountains of Colorado. 

dancer and a man fishing], [forcing] one 
to question the nature of desire." In all, 
the festival included over 170 films from 
dozens of countries, including France, 
Finland, Canada, Germany, the Nether- 
lands, Argentina, and Mexico. 

A truly unique festival, the Cinema 
Expo packed the most possible screenings 
into the least amount of time. Although 
the relentless succession of films was a bit 
dizzying at times, I ultimately enjoyed the 
total immersion in cinema. Most of the 
filmmakers were actually present, provid- 
ing an opportunity for prolonged discus- 
sions spanning successive days. Kathryn 
Ramey, who showed her haunting film 
Razed by Wolves, said her "only negative 
critique is that there was no structured 
discussion time where filmmakers could 
have a sort of roundtable about the work 
and/or current events in the experimental 
film world." Ramey proposed "an opening 
night schmooze -fest where filmmakers 
can meet and greet." I agree and would 
further suggest that experimental film- 
makers and the film community at large 
should support this promising festival 
both financially and actively, so that it will 
continue in the future. 

M.M. Serra is a film/video artist, teacher, 

curator, and director of Film-makers' 

Cooperative in New York. 



22 THE INDEPENDENT March 2001 



Doclands in Dublin 



A New Market Debuts 



Y DONAL O'CEILLEACHAIR 



Walking through Dublin's Temple Bar 
neighborhood, one hears almost as many 
foreign languages as one would expect on 
Manhattan's Broadway, and there's barely 
an Irish accent to be found amongst the 
employees of local stores. Dublin is the 
city where we once joked, "We're not 
European; we're Irish," but today the city 
is living up to its reputation as one of 
Europe's more prosperous, vibrant, and 
cosmopolitan cultural centers. 

One sign of this is Doclands, Ireland's 
first-ever festival and market dedicated to 
documentary film. The three-day event, 
which took place in Temple Bar from 
October 24-26, boasted an impressive 
schedule of 23 films, including three 
world premieres, 11 Irish premieres, and 
an Albert Maysles retrospective. It also 
offered a documentary market, parallel 
industry seminars, and a masterclass with 
Maysles for young Irish filmmakers. 

The festival's impetus was a request for 
proposals circulated by the Irish Film 
Board, based upon calls for a dedicated 
documentary event "made by. . . produc- 
ers at a Film Board documentary policy 
discussion in November, 1999," according 
to Rod Stoneman, chief executive of the 
Irish Film Board. 

Less than a year later, the festival had 
been pulled together by the Dublin-based 
events facilitator Ion Entertainment. The 
program included an eclectic blend of 
international documentaries, including 
Gaea Girls (U.K.), award-winning direc- 
tor Kim Longinotto's film on Japanese 
female wrestlers; Images of a Dictatorship 
(Chile/Canada), Patricio Henriquez's 
powerful film on Pinochet's regime in 
Chile; The Holy Brotherhood of Steam & 
Agony (Finland), Heikki Kujanpaa's 
account of legendary hot sauna bather 
Kake and his preparations for the sauna 
world championships; and Chris Smith's 
Sundance 1999 award-winner American 
Movie. 

Doclands also provided an important 
showcase for new Irish documentaries, 
both powerful television documentaries 
and potential theatrical releases. May the 



Road Rise Up, the result of a unique col- 
laboration between New York-based Irish 
photographer Alen McWeeney, acclaimed 
documentary filmmaker John T Davis, 
and one of Ireland's foremost film editors, 
Se Merry Doyle, was the festival's opening 
film. Freedom Highway, directed by Philip 
King, is a dynamic music documentary 
that features an impressive and diverse 
array of musicians, from Pete Seeger to 
Elvis Costello, Emylou Harris to Los 
Lobos, and Ruben Blades to a wailing Tom 
Waits. The documentary builds an effec- 
tive sense of the important role of music 
and song in political struggles throughout 
the twentieth century. Talking to the Dead, 



dent, and repertory cinema — a booking 
due in no small part, I suspect, to the pop- 
ular and apparently boundless entrepre- 
neurial energies of its central character. 

Particularly rewarding was the experi- 
ence of seeing one of the pioneers of 
Direct Cinema, Albert Maysles, interact 
with a predominantly younger Irish audi- 
ence. "I don't remember enjoying seeing 



Merchant's Arch in Dublin's Temple Bar district, 
right across from the famous Ha'penny Bridge. 



Representatives at the Irish Film Centre welcome 
festival-goers to Doclands. 



directed by documentary maker Pat 
Collins (former director of the Galway 
Film Fleadh festival), impressively wrestles 
with the ever-present concept of death in 
Irish culture and the traditions surround- 
ing Irish funerals from pagan times to the 
present. 

Shimmy Marcus' Aidan Walsh: Master of 
the Universe is a touching portrait of one of 
Ireland's most eccentric underground 
characters. Aidan Walsh himself, dressed 
in a psychedelic cape and sporting a king's 
crown, personally thanked each of the 
audience members as they entered and left 
the screening. After its festival screening, 
this documentary impressively began a 
week-long theatrical release at the festi- 
val's main venue, the twin-screen Irish 
Film Center (IFC), which is Ireland's pri- 
mary venue for international, indepen- 




Salesman for such a long time as much as I 
did tonight," announced Maysles as he 
stood up to thank the audience. How this 
classic documentary can pack a house of 
enthusiastic young Irish cinema-goers 
over 30 years after its release, when it took 
almost that long for U.S. television to 
broadcast the him, is one of those endur- 
ing ironies of the documentary world. 

The festival featured two industry sem- 
inars. One was on 'Reality TV' and what 
has come to be known as "docusoap" pro- 
gramming. The other was i European 
Documentary Network (EDN) Workshop 
on European Documentary, with a focus 
on co-financing and distribution. Tue 
Steen Miiller, the head ol 1 PN. look 
attendees on a guided tour ot contempo- 
rary European documentaries, showing 



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some highly engaging clips from recent 
productions. Although Europe provides a 
market that is almost as large as that in 
the U.S., the complexities involved for 
producers and commissioning agents alike 
posed by a multitude of languages and 
cultural borders were well demonstrated 
in the seminar. As Steven Seidenberg, an 
American producer based in London for 
over 30 years, observed, "It is close to 
impossible to fund a documentary out of a 
single country." Productions are subject to 
the expensive, lengthy, and time 'Consum- 
ing process of coproduction; it is not that 
uncommon to see a long list of funding 
credits at the end of European documen- 
taries, and in certain instances it is sur- 
prising where productions ended up get- 
ting financed. Despite the complexities of 
international co-production, it was 
encouraging to hear M tiller state that 
"Out of the 10 most popular Norwegian 
films shown theatrically in Norway [last 
year], four were documentaries." The 
Nordic countries apparently invest a lot of 
resources into producing, distributing, and 
marketing their documentaries, and audi- 
ences "don't care if it's a documentary or 
fiction," says Miiller, as long as they are 
engaged. 

f\ VITAL COMPONENT OF DOCLANDS IS 
the festival market, developed to present 
"an opportunity for documentary profes- 
sionals from Ireland and abroad to meet 
to discuss business in an international 
arena," according to Doclands organizers 
Sara Corcoran and Gemma Dolan. The 
market took place at the Project, a nearby 
arts and performance space, in an infor- 
mal cafe atmosphere that allowed for easy 
interaction between delegates and com- 
missioning editors. In attendance were 
over 60 delegates, the vast majority of 
whom were Irish filmmakers and produc- 
ers, plus 16 commissioning editors from 
10 key production/distribution compa- 
nies. Noticeable was the absence of major 
European commissioning agents from 
entities such as Arte, Canal Plus, ZDF, the 
BBC, and Channel 4, but with the success 
of Doclands' first year, it is hoped that its 
reputation will spread and attract these 
heavy hitters in the future. "[We were] 
interested in examining the venue as a 
possible alternative to the currently 
defunct London Programme Market," 



states Meg Villarreal, director of Virginia- 
based U.S. Independents, a cooperative 
organization that seeks to provide a criti- 
cal link between producers and distribu- 
tors, and organizes delegations of U.S.- 
based filmmakers and producers to attend 
events such as these. "While Doclands is 
not at that level of market, it does allow 
ample opportunities for producers and 
funders to meet and explore possibilities 
in greater detail and depth." 

The attendance of people like Villarreal 
and Betsy McLane, former executive 
director of the International Document- 
ary Association, would suggest an increas- 
ing interest in the dialogue between U.S., 
Irish, and European producers and distrib- 
utors. However, U.S. independents simul- 
taneously face a measure of concern 
about Hollywood-type dominance in the 
field of documentary. "Many European 
broadcasters don't like being colonized by 
the American market because there are so 
many documentary channels in the U.S. 
already calling the tune," states 
Seidenberg. According to Stoneman, 
"Although I think the work of American 
independent filmmakers is very impor- 
tant, I'd begin to be more [open to] their 
access to European funding when there is 
some adequate degree of reciprocity — 
access to American funding for European 
documentary makers." 

Although there were only a handful of 
international commissioning editors in 
attendance, the size and scheduling of the 
event allowed for invaluable time to be 
spent with those who did attend. I'm not 
sure whether delegates would have been 
so "fortunate at the more high-profile 
Amsterdam Forum — and herein lies the 
attraction of a smaller and more intimate 
venue like Doclands. With the success of 
this first year, the festival organizers look 
forward to it becoming an important and 
popular venue in the European documen- 
tary circuit in the years to come. 

Doclands can be contacted at 
www.docos.com/doclands 

Donal O'Ceilleachair is an Irish filmmaker 
based in New York who atterided Doclands in 
search of completion funds for his first feature- 
length documentary, Cuzco: Chronicle of a 
City at the End of the Century. He is also 
founder of the Ocularis venue in 
Williamsburg, Brooklyn. 



24 THE INDEPENDENT March 2001 



INDIGENOUSLY YOURS 

The ImagineNATlVE Aboriginal Media Arts Festival 

BY Faye Ginsburg 



Technology could be a source of genocide if we do 
not keep a balance within our communities. 
Digital interfaces could be the new Indian Agents 
of today, if we do not recreate and nurture this 
technological world. 

— Darlene Naponse (Ojibway) 

Welcome to ImagineNATIVE, a brave 
new world in which Aboriginal 'warriors' 
hunt the heads of colonial statues across 
Australia and 'two-spirited' First Nations 
people struggle to stay connected to their 
traditional communities. From September 
9-12, the ImagineNATIVE Aboriginal 
Media Arts Festival (www.aboriginal 
media.org) had its debut in Toronto, dur- 
ing the city's 'other' film festival. 




Organized by polymath 
artist, activist, and first- 
time festival director 
Cynthia bickers (Mohawk/ 
Six Nations), the festival was an ambi- 
tious effort to screen works from indige- 
nous communities in Canada/Nunavut, 
the U.S., Mexico, Brazil, Taiwan, and 
Australia. The packed opening-night 
screening demonstrated a wide range of 
genres and the aspiration of many indige- 
nous directors to leave what some call 
'the documentary ghetto.' The possibili- 
ties were evident in the opening film 
Blood River by Kent Monkman, a half- 
hour drama that explores the enduring 
complexities of Native kinship, identity, 
and privilege that shapes the work of so 
many filmmakers. Here, the story is told 
through the eyes of Rose (Jennifer Podem- 
ski), a hip Native law student who is dis- 



missive of the idyllic if boring life that her 
adoptive mother (Tantoo Cardinal) has 
given her until she encounters her less 
fortunate biological brother who is brutal- 
ized as a Native youth on the streets of 
the big city. 

In addition to a wide range of genres, 
the festival also brought together diverse 
indigenous filmmakers to discuss, strate- 
gize, and learn from each others' experi- 
ences as artists and activists. It provided 
multiple opportunities for people to meet 
in professional workshops addressing 
issues such as outreach to youth, the need 
for mentoring, the potential of new media 
to overcome geographical boundaries, 
and (as a case in point) an inter- 
national video conference discus- 
sing the directions of Aboriginal 
media arts in the next millenni- 
um. 

Filmmakers and actors present 
from Canada included the 
remarkable 'first lady' of Native 
filmmaking, Alanis Obamsawin, 
as well as Loretta Todd, Shelly 
Niro, and Shirley Cheechoo, rep- 
resenting the next generation to 
carry the torch, plus Jim 
Compton, program director of the 
fledgling Abori- 
ginal People's 
Television Net- 
work, the first 
national cable 
channel devoted to (and run by) indige- 
nous people. In a groundbreaking effort, 
Imagine -NATIVE also reached across the 
globe to indigenous mediamakers from 
the Pacific, bringing special delegations 
from Taiwan and Australia. In addition to 
an evening of performances hosted by the 
Republic of China on Taiwan, the 
Taiwanese filmmaker U. Mafu Balalavi 
showed several pieces produced at 
Taiwan's Public Television Service 
Foundation which, when it went to air in 
July 1998, established a regular forum for 
Aboriginal issues, Face to Face with the 
Tribes, and an indigenously produced 
Aboriginal news magazine. 

From Australia, two talented young 



Off with their heads: The noggins of European 

colonialist statues are severed in Sally 

Riley's Confessions of a Head Hunter, an 

Aboriginal road movie. 



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Australian producer/directors, Pauline 
Clague and Sally Riley, showed a selection 
of short fiction pieces that skillfully 
employed humor, elegant plotting, and 
evocative mise en scene to address topics 
as diverse as the treatment of Aboriginal 
soldiers in World War II and the racial 
tensions dividing black and white cattle 
hands. Riley's Confessions of a Head 
Hunter is an antic Aboriginal road movie 
in which two young men resort to 'head- 
hunting' to rectify the dishonorable treat- 
ment of one of their ancestral warriors. 
Riley also heads the Indigenous Film Unit 
of the Australian Film Commission, which 
has played an instrumental role in nurtur- 
ing the feature filmmaking skills of a new 
generation of indigenous artist- activists. 

While there has been steady (if modest) 
support in Australia for Aboriginal media 
in both the outback and among urban 
filmmakers, Riley voiced concerns about 
who has the right to tell certain kinds of 
stories, a debate echoed by many atten- 
dees. Speaking about the concerns of the 
'stolen generation' of mixed-race children 
who were taken from Aboriginal mothers, 
Riley noted, 'First they stole the children 
and now they're going to steal the stories 
about them. Our next big challenge is to 
claim the stories.' The good news is that so 
many indigenous filmmakers are doing 
just that in many different kinds of pro- 
duction centers, from the community- 
based Chiapas Media Project, to indige- 
nous directors heading to Sundance or 
Cannes. 

Events and screenings were centralized 
at the Marriott in downtown Toronto, but 
a number of off- site venues accommodat- 
ed other screenings or events co-spon- 
sored with the Toronto International Film 
Festival. This supported the ambitious 
programming, but also dissipated atten- 
dance and made it difficult to see work 
programmed at the same time, a common 
festival hazard that can be addressed easi- 
ly by setting up video viewing rooms. 

It seems fitting that such a pioneering 
effort would happen in Canada, a nation 
at the forefront of First Nations' media 
since the launch of the Inuit Broadcasting 
Corporation in the 1970s. Thirty years 
later, Canada's First Nations people have 
again led the way. 

Faye Ginsburg is director of the Center for Media 
Culture and History at New York University. 



26 THE INDEPENDENT March 2001 



Testing Testing 



Choosing the Right Radio Mic 

by Larry Loewinger 



"I've just passed the parking lot," my 
friend advised me. He was a block and a 
half from my apartment, walking on the 
streets of New York City on a cold, blus- 
tery day and talking into four wireless 
microphone transmitters, as tourists' 
heads turned from their guidebooks to 
watch my muttering friend. Back in the 
comfort of my apartment, I cruised 
through the dials of the mixer to which 
each radio mic receiver was connected. 
The point of this exercise was to test the 
mics for range and audio quality. Two 
were struggling — one almost dead, the 
other wheezing and coughing the way 
radio mics do. The other two were dis- 
playing reasonably good manners with 
only occasional drop outs. One, in fact, 
exhibited a surprisingly stable signal. 
What was significant was not the fact that 
these mics were struggling, but, even at 
their worst, that they were working at all 
in the intense radio-frequency environ- 
ment that is New York City. 

The radio microphone systems we were 
evaluating, all in the $1,000 list price 
range and all intended for the digital 
video market, reflect the advances that 
radio frequency technology has made in 
the last 10 years. By operating in the Ultra 
High Frequency (UHF) range (470-806 
Megaherz), these devices were far more 
resistant to interference than the older 
Very High Frequency (VHF) units (150- 
216 Megaherz) they have replaced. Their 
radio frequency (rf) coverage has 
increased, too. Bear in mind that we are 
still only talking about a reach of some 
300 feet in circumference, but within 
which reach the rf signal is far more sta- 
ble. Wireless microphone technology has 
evolved to the point that, in a sense, we 
have gone back to basics. The emphasis is 
no longer on merely securing the rf signal 
through the use of expensive high-gain 
antennas, but rather on getting good 
sound — maximizing the sound quality of 
the lavalier microphone. 




logue when a speaker close to the subject 
is unaware of being recorded. Sometimes 
even the subjects forget they are wearing 
them. 

But there are drawbacks as well. With 
radio mics one loses a sense of perspective 
or placement of an actor or documentary 
subject within the film or video frame; the 
sound is always up front. 
Clothing noise is a constant 
headache, especially when 
multiple rf mics are 
involved. As good as radio 
mics have become, rf inter- 
ference can still be a prob- 
lem. And radio mics, as 
they invade the privacy of 
the people wearing them, 
require an interaction 
(sometimes unwanted) 
between the sound mixer 



Four radio microphone systems: (back left to 
right), Audio-Technica and Sennheiser; 
(front left to right), Lectrosonic and Sony. 



A wireless microphone system is 
a highly miniaturized FM radio 
station. The subject wears the 
transmitter which radiates 
between 50 and 100 milliwatts of 
rf power several hundred feet out 
to the receiver, which is somewhere near 
the sound mixer. Production radio micro- 
phones operate in the same bands as do 
television stations, both VHF (Channels 
2-13) and UHF (Channels 14-80), only 
in between the TV channels. With the 
advent of digital television, the allotted 
bandwidth for wireless microphones is 
steadily shrinking. If you're buying a used 
rf mic, be careful not to choose one 
whose frequency has since been given 
over to digital TV. 

Production people believe radio mics 
save time. That's true, although it is 
sometimes at the cost of quality. Wireless 
mics have other advantages as well. They 
convey dialogue from someone deep in 
the frame who otherwise couldn't be 
recorded. They can enhance dialogue 
that is softly spoken. They can retrieve 
dialogue in a noisy situation, such as on 
city streets. In a documentary environ- 
ment, radio mics allow you to 'steal' dia- 




Microphones and accessories that are available with 
the digital video radio mics (from left to right): 
Audio-Technica, Audio-Technica, Sony, Sennheiser, and 
Lectrosonic. The microphones range from $50-$100. 



and his or her actors or subject. There are 
actors who hate them and will sabotage 
your efforts to use them. Nonetheless, 
hardly a film, TV show, or musical stage 
performance can proceed without them. 

What should you look for when buying 
a radio microphone. 7 Professional sound 
mixers today expect that their radio mics 
will be as miniaturized as possible; they 
expect a balanced XLR audio output, 
detachable antennas that attach firmly 
and securely to the units, a transmitter 
with a reasonably standard microphone 
input connector, mechanical ruggedness, 
ease ot operation, comprehensive meter- 
ing, a high-quality diversity switching sys 
tem (more on this below), frequency 
switching (agility), and a secure operating 



March 2001 THE INDEPENDENT 27 




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range of about 300 feet in circumference. 
Most of all, the rf microphone should 
sound good. All these requirements come 
at a price, and the cost of professional 
wireless microphones can be steep. A fre- 
quency agile, diversity system begins at 
about $2,300, and can approach $5,000 at 
the very top end. If you're a filmmaker or 
videographer planning to spend less than 
$1,000 on a wireless microphone, what 
compromises can you expect and can you 
live with them? 

Due to the rapid strides in rf technolo- 
gy, wireless manufacturers have been able 
to pack a lot of quality into their low- end 
units. Menus rather than switches have 
shrunk components and brought down 
their price, as have unbalanced mini-plug 
audio outputs and receiver and/or trans- 
mitter antennas that remain permanently 
attached to the units. Only one of the sys- 
tems that we examined works on a diver- 
sity switching principle. Diversity switch- 
ing (usually shortened to "diversity") 
involves a method of reducing multi-path 
dropouts by utilizing two antennas or 
receivers that seamlessly switch back and 
forth to eliminate out of phase rf signals. 
While diversity switching may increase 
the reliable reach of a radio mic, the pri- 
mary gain is in an increase in rf reliability 
within the system's operating range. 
Because diversity technology is so reliable, 
it has meant the beginning of the end of 
cables on a sound cart. There are profes- 
sional mixers I know who do all of their 
recording via wireless boom mics, lavalier 
wireless mics, and wireless headsets. In 
the digital video world, more producers, 
directors, and camera people want to link 
up the sound person and his or her audio 
mixer via a radio link to the DV camera. 
That connection is best served by a diver- 
sity rf microphone. But there is a cost to 
diversity, usually in money spent, the 
extra size of the receiver, and its power 
consumption. 

There are six manufacturers who 
dominate the digital video radio micro- 
phone market: AKG, the Austrian micro- 
phone manufacturer; Audio -Technica, a 
Japanese maker of consumer and pro- 
sumer products; Lectrosonic, the leading 
American maker of rf technology; 
Sennheiser, Germany's largest producer of 
microphones and headsets; Sony, whom 



28 THE INDEPENDENT March 2001 



we all know; and Telex, an American 
company best known for its communica- 
tion systems. I have investigated the four 
most popular brands — Audio-Technica, 
Lectrosonics, Sennheiser, and Sony — to 
see how each responded to the DV mar- 
ket. While we did no formal rf measure- 
ments and no test instruments were 
involved, we subjected the mics to sever- 
al rigorous but informal tests that you as a 
consumer can do. We placed the mics on 
someone just as they would be used in the 
field and had that person walk the streets 
of New York to see how they performed. 
We jangled keys close to the lavaliers, and 
we shouted into them as a way of measur- 
ing the quality of their compandors and 
limiters. Jangling keys produce an enor- 
mous amount of high frequency energy 
that can severely tax the compandor cir- 
cuitry of a radio mic. Reproducing this 
sound without distortion is a major chal- 
lenge to an rf mic. And shouting into the 
lavalier is a measure of how these systems' 
limiters protect them from audio overload 
which can overload the transmission sys- 
tem as well. 

All four systems we looked at were fre- 
quency agile. In two cases the frequency 
alterations were made by mechanical 
switches, and in the other two they were 
accomplished by a digital display and soft- 
ware. All systems were supplied with lava- 
lier microphones of varying quality. 

Only one of the mic systems comes 
with a balanced audio output delivered 
via an XLR connector: the Audio 
Technica U100 series, which is also the 
only diversity receiver among the group. 
Its rf and audio parameters are changed 
by means of mechanical switches, and it 
requires two batteries to operate the 
receiver, the only one to do so. Since it is 
not as ergonomically pleasing as some of 
the other units, the question we had was 
whether its performance would override 
its appearance and the large size of its 
receiver. The answer is yes. The Audio 
Technica's rf reach was the longest, if not 
by much. Its audio quality is exemplary, as 
was that for all the systems we examined. 
The Audio Technica U100 wireless mic is 
a good buy if you don't need a small 
receiver to attach to your DV camera. 

The smallest system and probably the 
most ergonomic is Sony's WRR-805A 
receiver and its companion transmitter, 



the WRT-805A. It is the only system to 
use AA batteries and be encased in hard 
plastic rather than metal, making it the 
lightest of all four mics. Sony also supplies 
a very clever and flexible receiver harness 
that should make it easy to attach to var- 
ious DV cameras. While Sony provides a 
multilingual operating manual, it also 
prints the basic operating instructions on 
its transmitter and receiver — a very handy 
thing. (Lectrosonic does the same.) 
Generally speaking, radio mics are very 
easy to operate. Rare is the situation 
where you need more than the kind of 
elemental advice offered on the shells of 
the Sony and Lectrosonic systems. Sony's 
functions were altered by a blend of hard 
switches and software. As you might 
expect from a manufacturer of DV cam- 
eras, Sony has produced a system that is 
attractive in all parameters save one — the 
strength of its rf signal. Its rf operating 
range was the weakest of all four units. 
While this is a serious weakness, it is not 
a fatal flaw as long as you don't push the rf 
envelope. 

Lectrosonic may be the most accom- 
plished American manufacturer of wire- 
less microphones. Their entry into the DV 
market is the 100 Series transmitter and 
receiver. As a non- diversity system it had 
excellent rf range, approaching Audio 
Technica's diversity system. The transmit- 
ter physically resembles Lectrosonic's 
high- end transmitters. The microphone 
input features a Switchcraft connector, 
the same as is found on Audio Technica's 
wireless mic. Wouldn't it be nice if all 
manufacturers standardized to this con- 
nector? All switching in the Lectrosonic 
system is done mechanically. Its receiver is 
small, with one drawback — a permanent- 
ly attached antenna — and its output 
appears on an unbalanced female mini 
plug. Clearly this receiver is intended as a 
camera-mount unit. The Lectrosonic sys- 
tem is the most expensive of this particu- 
lar group. 

In Germany, Sennheiser is a major 
manufacturer of both consumer and pro- 
fessional audio products. It exports high- 
quality regular microphones, headsets, 
and high-end radio microphones which 
are found mostly in the theater world. 
The Evolution series, which is their entry 
into the DV market, is a solid example ol 
current technology. Like the Sony unit, it 



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makes its frequency changes through soft- 
ware. Both of its antennas detach from 
their respective cases. It is mechanically 
rugged and performed in the field with 
good rf range, trailing the Lectrosonic and 
Audio Technica microphones by only a 
small amount. However, when it came to 
audio results, the Evolution 500 per- 
formed less well. Keys distorted badly 
when jangled too close to the lavalier. If 
you listened closely, the system's compan- 
dor seemed to have some difficulty in 
reproducing low-level sound information. 
Background noise appeared gritty. In most 
situations, when the transmitter's mic 
input gain is set carefully, this problem 
won't be apparent. Given that Sennheiser 
is the leading manufacturer of regular 
microphones — its Evolution 500 is avail- 
able with one of the better lavaliers on the 



market — the Sennheiser MKE2-EW, for 
which you will pay a premium. While the 
Sennheiser mic has its virtues — namely its 
rugged build and its good rf reliability — it 
clearly has some notable drawbacks. 

Which to choose? If your requirement 
is for a camera mount system, your choic- 
es are either the Sony or the Lectrosonic, 
which have better rf reach but greater 
cost. If you want the superior reliability of 
diversity technology, then your only selec- 
tion is the Audio Technica U100. The 
Sennheiser Evolution at this price range is 
a middle of the road choice that does 
many things well, but no design element 
stands out. 

To most of us, radio frequency technol- 
ogy is one of life's little mysteries. Few of 
us understand it, but we happily take it for 
granted every time we turn on the radio. 



When you go into the broadcasting busi- 
ness, which you inevitably do when you 
buy a radio mic, ignorance is no longer 
bliss. One item to help you comprehend 
this mystery is a substantial booklet pub- 
lished by Lectrosonics, Wireless Micro- 
phone Systems: Concepts of Operation and 
Design. While this may include far more 
information than you want to absorb and 
it may promote Lectrosonic products 
(though not too heavily), it is very useful 
as a reference. What's more, even though 
it lists for $15.95, it is free from the 
Lectrosonic website (www.lectrosonics. 
com, click on Wireless guide). And that's 
a blessing when the switch to digital tech- 
nology keeps filmmakers digging into their 
pockets. 

Larry Loeivinger [sohoaudio@earthlink.net] is 
an audio engineer and documentary producer. 



Most manufacturers report two price 
structures — their Jist prices and the 
minimum price they permit their 
dealers to advertise, the Minimum 
Advertised Price or MAR But neither 
is the price you are likely to pay. You 
should pay less. Shop around. As 
these are prosumer items, they are 
available in a wider variety of stores 
than high-end, professional audio 
equipment. 

1 Audio-Technica 

U100 Camera-mount UHF Wireless 
Microphone System: Model U101: $1,049. 

(Audio-Technica provides only a list price.) 
Lavalier microphone is extra. 
.www.audiotechnica.com/guide/wireless/ul 
OO.htm 

2 Lectrosonics 

100 Series Wireless 'System: UM 100 . 
Transmitter, MAP $688.50; UCR 100 
Receiver, MAP $845.75. Comes with lava- 
lier. www.lectrosonics.com/wireless/wire- 
less.htm; scroll down to the 100 series 
group. 

3 Sennheiser 

Evolution 500 Series, EW522P System. 
MAP, $979.99. www.sennheiser.com/evolu- 
tion/ew|/ewl.html; click on 100, 300 or 500 
series buttons. 

4 Sony 

UHF Synthesized Portable Wireless System 
805/44CAMPK68, list $1,300. (No MAP on 
this model.) With WRR-805A68 receiver;, 
WRT-805A68, transmitter; lavalier, ECM- 
44BMP www.sony.com/professional; click 
on "pro audio" and then "wireless mics". . 
Note: The Sony web site is old anCnbt easy 
to navigate. It is currently being updated. 



THE 



ESSENTIALS 



The Audio-Technica lavalier placed inside a man's shirt. The clip pro- 
vides some isolation from the shirt but it also adds bulk. You can 
remove the clip and tape the microphone to the inside of the shirt, in 
between the buttons. Be careful not to cover the mic's diaphragm. 



A Sanken lavalier placed in the knot of a tie. In a working situation the 
lavalier is actually hidden within the knot, at its edge. This rigging is 
easier done with a cylindrical!'/ shaped mic like the Sanken. (a 
Japanese brand of lavalier) 




A Sennheiser lavalier clipped to a bra. Whenever mounting a micro- 
phone on someone, try to isolate it from the clothing or attach it to the 
clothing so that it moves easily with, rather than against, the clothing. 
This clip achieves that purpose but it is rather bulky. 



A Sonotrim lavalier clipped to a bra. This lavalier is placed within a 
holder dubbed the "vampire" clip, with its diaphragm facing into the 
clip. The Sonotrim and Tram, as good sounding rectangular mics, are 
popular among professionals. For hiding lavaliers, rectangular mics 
tend to be available with better mounting hardware. 



30 THE INDEPENDENT March 2001 



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compensate for his illness with a touching and desperate system 
of notes, Polaroids, and tattoos. These dubious fragments are the 
clues he trusts will lead him to his wife's killer. Along the way he 
encounters a series of colorful, seemingly helpful characters, 
including the fetchingly duplicitous Natalie (played by Carrie - 
Anne Moss, no stranger to metaphysical movies, e.g., The 
Matrix) . 

A body, a mystery, a "detective," a femme fatale? Memento 
playfully uses the conventions of film noir to take a disturbingly 
close look at noir themes of revenge, paranoia, and dread. In the 
backwards telling of the tale, Memento also plays with how mem- 
ory functions in the craft of storytelling. 

The 29-year-old Nolan first picked up a Super 8 camera at age 




\ 



seven, making short films with his childhood friends in the UK. 
He studied English Literature at University College London, and 
his first feature film, Following, was a study of voyeurism that also 
explored the ambiguity of identity. A black-and-white no-bud- 
geter, the film was acclaimed at many festivals but poorly distrib- 
uted, so few saw it. After Following, Nolan moved to the U.S. — 
first Chicago, then Los Angeles, where he now resides. Here he 
found backing for his next film, Memento, which was inspired by 
a short story written by his brother Jonathan Nolan, which will 
be published in Esquire this year. The film represents a significant 
leap for the director, both in terms of its budget (in the low mil- 
lions), its professional producers (Suzanne and Jennifer Todd of 
Boiler Room, Austin Powers), and its theatrical release on March 4 
16 (via Sony Pictures Classics). 

In December, The Independent sat down with Nolan to talk 
about memory, film noir, story structure, and vengeance movies. 

In Memento, did you choose to tell the story in fragments so that the 
rhythm of the film would mimic your disturbed protagonist's mind? 

Absolutely. My first film, Following, had a nonlinear structure, 
with parallel timelines that jump across, so I was not intending 
to make another film with a disjointed structure. But once I'd 
been told the idea of the film by my brother Jonathan, who was 
writing a short story about a guy with a memory condition, we 
both agreed that the most interesting way to approach that con- 
cept was to try to tell the story as subjectively as possible. So the 
structure arose from literally sitting around thinking: how best 
can I get the audience into this guy's head? The idea I came up 
with was to tell the story backwards. Each successive flashback, 
each color sequence, is a little further back in time. In that way, 
when you meet a character, you, like the protagonist, don't know 
how he's met that person before, or whether he should trust that 
person. All these ambiguities and uncertainties that film noir has 
traditionally used to prey on the everyday fears that we have, 
become exaggerated. I was looking for a way to reawaken some 
of the paranoia inherent in those kinds of uncertainties. The 
interesting thing about reversing the timeline is that this is not a 
nonlinear film. It's a very, very linear film. The A.D. took to call- 
ing it a "dislinear" film. You can't remove a single scene, or the 
whole thing comes to a grinding halt. Each scene follows very 
tightly after the next, more closely than they would in a conven- 
tional movie. 

But even though it flows backwards, it also has a forward-flowing narra- 
tive, in terms of the emotional truth Leonard's heading toward. 



32 THE INDEPENDENT March 2001 



i/lemory, storytelling, 
and genre films are redefined 

and subverted in the impressive Memento 



People who figure that out, I think, really get the film. 
Underneath it, it's very conventional — it has a three-act struc- 
ture, in terms of the emotional arc. That was absolutely vital, I 
felt, in making that backwards structure work. If you ignore the 
chronology, it does have a very intentionally conventional pat- 
tern to it. I did that 
by sitting down and 
starting to write 
exactly what I 
wanted to see on 
the screen, as I 
wanted to see it. 
So I started at page 
one and I finished 




at page 120. Following has 
parallel timelines and the film cuts between 
them. So I wrote that in a linear way, then 
chopped it up later in the script stage. 
Memento's structure is « . ..... 

very different. It's so 
linear that it was actu- 
ally a lot easier to visu- 
alize it. 



and-white footage is going forward are actually waiting for that 
moment when the timelines will hook up. 

It's a film you want to see twice, in that things that seemed casual the 
first time round might have more significance on second viewing. 

I tried not to be too clever- clever in the dialogue sense, because 
you can get into that thing of putting deliberate double -mean- 
ings into lines. What I tried to do more was to put double -mean- 
ings into whole actions and dialogues. Especially the exchanges 
between Natalie and Leonard. Her boyfriend has disappeared, 
and when she's showing Leonard his picture, there's a sense of 
her looking for Leonard's reaction. Those are the kinds of tests 
that other people put before him, which, once you see the whole 
film, you realize the significance of. They're continually testing 

him for their own 
voyeuristic inter- 
est. 

I'm red/green 
colorblind. As 
soon as I tell that 
to someone, the 
first thing they 




So you wrote it linear, but 
backwards. 

Yes. Backwards and for- 
wards at the same time. 
[laughs] Because the 
black-and-white footage 
goes forwards, and then it 
meets the color 
footage at the end, so 
the shape of the script is a 
kind of U-turn, or a hairpin 
turn. They meet at the point 
where it changes from black- 
and-white to color. 
The people that pick 
up on how the black- 



"The film is 

most subversive, not as applied to film 
noir, but more as applied to revenge 
movies. Like Braveheart. Like Gladiator. 
As soon as you see a beautiful wife on 
screen, you know she's got about 15 
minutes before she gets the chop...so 
that the hero is then able to go and 
kick-ass in the most nasty way, 
L and we think it's totally okay." 



Left to right: Christopher Nolan, writer-director of Memento, a 
stylish film noir that deconstructs the reliability of memory. 

Guy Pearce stars as Leonard Shelby, a man with no short- 
term memory who uses a complex system of notes and tattoos 
to fuel his vengeance. 

Joe Pantoliano (I) plays someone trying to help Guy Pearce 
put the pieces of his fragmented life back together. 



say is, oh, what color is this? What color is 
that. 7 And they'll test me for hours, if I let 
them. 

Which relates to the insurance storyline. It's so 
Catholic almost, that he didn't believe that guy's 
memory condition, and so his penance is to never be 
believed himself. It's quite perverse. 
Right, it is. And this is a very specific ambigui- 
ty in the film — his relationship with chat insur- 
ance story, how he tells it, what il means, and 
how it relates to him. 



March AVI THE INDEPENDENT 33 



You do end up wondering about all 
the stories he tells. At one point I 
thought that the girl we see might not 
even be his original wife, because 
who knows how many times he's 
reenacted this whole loop. Is this 
another town, another girl, another 
picture? 

Interesting. That takes it to 
another level, [laughs] It's very 
much a film that lends itself to 
interpretation, which was very 
deliberate. I have limits to how 
far that goes. What I'm finding 
satisfying is that people who see 
the film twice, [who come] with 
a specific question, seem to be 

able to find the answer. Which is great, because I think all the 
answers are in there. Now, the relationship of the filmmaker to 
the audience is really stretched with this movie, because there 
are definitely people who react against the scenes that are the 
cleverness of the filmmaker. But I had three years to work on the 
film. You have an hour and three-quarters to watch it. So, I 
should be cleverer than you. I've always been drawn to films that 
you want to see more than once, whether because of a visual 
density, like the films of Ridley Scott, or narrative density, like 
The Usual Suspects. I was interested in creating a film that you 
want to figure out. There are ambiguities in the end, but I want 
people to be put in the position of the protagonist, in terms of 
choosing what they want to believe. 

There is a ripple back effect, at the point where [film-spoiler information 
withheld.] Everything that happened previously becomes suspect. 

It does. But, I think that it's within limitations. I was not inter- 
ested in exploding the whole thing too much, in the way, for 
example, in The Usual Suspects does. Once you find out some- 
one's been lying, it becomes very difficult in terms of how you 
rein in the terms of those lies. For example, you were suggesting 
that maybe that woman isn't Leonard's wife. I would see that as 
upsetting the terms of what he's doing. It's not so much that he's 
lying, it's more that he's morally suspect. 

I've always been fascinated with stories that have unreliable 
narrators. And I wanted to make one where there's a fairly 
smooth, quite steady process of alienation from the audience. 
There are some nice ways in which the camerawork and the per- 
formances combine to clue the audience in a bit as well. The 
blocking in the film is very specific and there's a point, about 
two-thirds of the way through, where the camera leaves his eye- 
line for the first time. It's subtle, but I get the sense of suddenly 
starting to view him as you would objectively — as this guy shuf- 
fling around with this big wash of papers sort of mumbling about 
his wife's killer. The color sequences are all blocked from his 
point of view. The camera's always a little bit closer to him, phys- 
ically, when he's in conversation. We look over his shoulder, as 
someone comes up to him in a room. The black-and-white 
footage is shot a little more objectively; more like a documentary. 
We'd take the camera out farther, we'd use a wider lens, as if we 
were making a documentary about this guy in his hotel room. 




In Memento, no one is quite what they seem, including 
Carrie-Anne Moss's character Natalie. 



In terms of how finely you shaved 
the beginnings and ends of 
scenes, was that all scripted, or 
was some of it done in the editing 
room? 

It was pretty tightly scripted. 
We ended up simplifying the 
first few scenes, running a few 
scenes together. I always have 
this thing in my head that you 
have to teach the audience 
the structure fairly quickly. 
When you come to edit it, you 
realize that doesn't really 
work; people don't really view 
films in structural terms. 



Did you storyboard? 

I storyboard in my head. I usually do a few drawings, and then I 
get bored with it and figure it out in my mind. Particularly when 
you're doing a low-budget movie, you have to be able to adapt 
whatever it is you have in your head to the location or to the set. 
In the end we were able to come up with some very apt locations. 
I was very pleased with the motel. It had an enclosed courtyard, 
you can't see anything outside, and it had a kind of spiral stair- 
case and an upper level that's on slightly different levels. 

So it worked as a kind of puzzlement? 

Yes, if Escher designed a motel, this would be it. When you open 
your door and look out, you don't have any idea where you are. 

Is Leonard's condition less based on research than it is meant to be an 
exaggeration of a human condition in general, in terms of our relation- 
ship to our memories? 

I did a little bit of research, but not too much, because I wasn't 
interested in doing a realistic medical portrayal of this thing; I 
was interested in its metaphorical potential. The experience is 
very much written from the point of view of me sitting there, and 
saying, how do I use my memory? How would I cope if it were 
totally removed, that ability to make new memories? For 
instance, I write phone numbers on my hand. I keep my glasses 
in the same pocket, so I don't have to think about it. I use 
instinctive memory rather than conscious memory. We all take 
photographs, we all write notes to ourselves, and so he very 
much is an exaggeration of this. Now that the film has been seen 
by various people who work with people who have this condi- 
tion, they say they find it surprisingly accurate. 

In the traditional way people tell stories in film, they dole out pieces of 
information that are pretty reassuringly the next piece of the story. 
Whereas your film doles out the opposite. It's a bit more like life, how it 
comes at you in fragments. Memento plays with the way we tell stories. 

With my first film, I wound up having to justify structure a lot. 
With Memento I think it's pretty clear that we're trying to put 
you in his head. And this is relevant to what you're talking 
about, because I became interested by the way that we receive 
stories in real life. It's almost never chronological. In Following, 
it's beginning, middle and end concurrent. That's the way we 
read a newspaper. "Man Bites Dog" is the headline. And as you 



34 THE INDEPENDENT March 2001 



read it, it expands. And then the next day, it's filled in, almost 
like fractals. I was trying to play with that kind of organic under- 
standing of a story that sort of grows in all directions, rather than 
just in a straight line. But too often, in film, you have to justify 
this narrative technique. Whereas in books, or on stage, you can 
use this kind of narrative freedom — and they have been, for 
hundreds if not thousands of years. In film, I think probably 
because of television, it's been very much held back. If you look 
at the structure of Citizen Kane, it still seems very incredibly 
adventurous, even this far down the line. Whereas every other 
aspect of filmmaking is constantly progressing, even just on a 
technical level. 

In fact, the only other film I could think of that flows backward is based 
on a play, Harold Pinter's Betrayal. 

I've never seen it, but people have brought it up to me. It's funny, 
because you find these things in plays and novels. I was influ- 
enced by Graham Swift's Waterhnd, and I read Time's Arrow, by 
Martin Amis, which is written literally backwards. If someone 
criticizes the structure of my film as a gimmick, they're separat- 
ing it from the material. My main defense is that I could not have 
re-cut the film forwards. It's not that it doesn't work forwards, 
because it does. Technically it works, logically it works. It just 
becomes unbearable to watch. It becomes this horrible portrayal 
of this guy being abused and abused. The only way to get around 
that is to prevent the audience from seeing that abuse until 
much later in the film. People still seem to sympathize with him, 
they still want to view him in the way he views himself, which is 
as this kind of heroic avenging figure. I had a fantastic editor, 
Dody Dorn, and she added an emotional component to the edit- 
ing. On an emotional level, you want him to get his man. I think 
it's working well if, at the end of it, you aren't too unhappy that 
it carries on. Because you realize the bleakness of someone in this 
condition achieving his goal. What does he have next? 

Which leads to that loop that he's perhaps already finished his 
vengeance but goes on. 

Because he has these memories of his wife, of her dying, that fuel 
him continuously. He doesn't need to refresh that experience. 
One of the unusual things about this condition is that the anger 
and grief would never fade. You'd always be in the grip of this 
moment of needing vengeance and never getting past that. The 
film is most subversive, not as applied to film noir, but more as 
applied to revenge movies. Like Braveheart. Like Gladiator. As 
soon as you see a beautiful wife on screen in that kind of film, 
you know she's got about 15 minutes before she gets the chop in 
the most horrible way possible, so that the hero is then able to go 
and kick-ass in the most nasty way, and we think it's totally okay. 
It's this peculiar moral balancing act that filmmakers and script- 
writers always have to do, because of the studios or whatever, to 
make the things that the hero does okay. We all indulge in these 
fantasies of suffering when we're younger. You know, what would 
I feel like if my parents were killed in a car crash, how would I 
act in school the next day? This weird kind of self-indulgent fan- 
tasy of suffering that we explore at various points in our lives, 
films tend to prey on that. This film certainly seems to make 
some people uncomfortable, and I think that's why. 



It's also disturbing because it reminds us we all have stories we tell so 
often, eventually we don't remember what the truth was. 

Guy Pearce has done some interviews where he really seems to 
give the impression that making the film definitely made him 
question things about his own memory. You begin to question 
the things you think you know, particularly the things you think 
you've seen. One of the things that I was most frightened to real- 
ize was that thought memory can translate into visual memory. 
There are things you will believe yourself to have seen, in your 
past, that you didn't see. Someone just told you about them, or 
whatever. The main thing that seems to divide people about the 
film is in the interpretation of the end, particularly in regard to 
the Sammy story, and his wife. It really comes down to whether 
you tend to favor your verbal memory or your visual memory. 
People who favor their visual memory think they've seen it in a 
particular way, even when the film very explicitly presents two 
interpretations of the same action. They can't both be true. 

People lie to Leonard, but you wonder, like a dog that's been kicked, will 
he have some kind of visceral memory? 

I tried to present mini versions of the whole story in each scene. 
If you apply that concept to the final scene, with Teddy, and the 
way he is telling Leonard truths because he's not going to 
remember them, you see the cruelty of that. But you think about 
whether he will absorb it. Teddy is unaware of whether or not it 
will seep in, but these things do seep in on some subconscious 
emotional level. That's what we tried to do with the tattoos. 
They look like they were painful, and are an attempt of his 
unconscious self to communicate with his conscious self. That 
there's been this continuous sort of build up, and what we're 
actually watching is in a way the last cycle in a series of cycles. 

Like a detective, he's trying to develop a fine-tuned instinctual sense for 
the truth, because that's all he's got. 

Yes, but he misapplies the context of the emotions, of the read he's 
getting, in the same way the audience does. The same with the 
femme fatale element of the film. If you watch the film again, what 
does that do to her? In a way, she actually helps him and is actu- 
ally a good person. It's the duplicity that is the illusion. She has a 
pretty good reason to be angry with him in the film. It's a condi- 
tion that's very hard for the people around him to deal with. 
People have related the film to Alzheimer's, which hadn't 
occurred to me consciously, but it makes perfect sense. My grand- 
mother had Alzheimer's; it's hard on people, not being recognized. 

Memento is a film that seems more interested in raising questions than 
in answering them. 

There's an interesting tension, between the terms of the story- 
telling and the story itself. We tried to create answers to all the 
obvious questions that did not betray the terms of the story, 
which is that we are in the head of this guy who cannot, with any 
degree of certainty, say what's just happened. In putting answers 
in to some of these questions, you actually increase the enigma, 
because of the order of the storytelling, and the way in which you 
subvert the reliability ot the process of memory. It's this bizarre 
process of, no matter how tightly you wrap it up, you've got it 
backwards, so it's actually unwrapping. It's actually exploding. 

Annie Nocenti is a screenwriter and the editor o) Scenario mag 



March AVI THE INDEPENDENT 35 



D R IE A 





IK IE R 



How at-risk youth contributed to and learned from 
the making of The Dream Catcher. 




B Y 

When Steve Bognar, Ed Radtke, and I decided to make the 
independent feature The Dream Catcher, we shared a core idea. 
We wanted not just to make a film; we wanted it to be more. 
We'd all been through the crazy ego-driven process of creating 
one of those low-budget 
wonders, and we did not 
want to expend all that 
manic energy and massive 
human resources just to cre- 
ate a 90-minute hip cellu- 
loid experience and take a 
step on the director's career 
ladder. The process itself 
had to mean more, to effect 
more people, to leave something 
behind. 

The vision of The Dream 
Catcher director/writer Ed Radtke 
led the way. As a youth, Ed was an 
abysmal student and often in trou- 
ble. Growing up Asian in a small 

all-white Ohio town during the late Vietnam War era did not 
help. By 1 7 he was both a juvenile felon and a father. With the 
help of an enlightened parole officer, Tim Currier, and his 
tough Japanese mom, Kazuko, Ed gradually turned his life 
around. His experiences led him to have deep identification with 
what society now calls "at-risk youth." Both of his feature films, 
Bottom Land and The Dream Catcher, center on rudderless, iso- 
lated young men who struggle to voice their feelings. When our 
producing team sat down to plan, months before cameras would 
roll, all this was on our minds. 

As head of fundraising, I began to talk with area foundations, 
pitching passionately for nonprofit funding. A happy match was 
made. A local funder, the Iddings Foundation, has as its mission 
the support of programs for at-risk youth. After some brain- 
storming meetings with Iddings leadership, we designed a year- 
long program, dubbed The Dayton Youth Film Project (DYFP). 
It would involve area youth in all stages of making a feature film, 
with The Dream Catcher as the real-lite model. We believed the 
film's characters and story would engage and effect them. The 
project would be topped off with the kids making their own short 
videos. 

With the concept on paper and minimal initial funding in 
place, we faced our next hurdle: finding kids to participate. 
Working with existing institutions made the most sense. Here 
were kids one step away from serious incarceration, kids in half- 
way houses and in county juvie facilities. Our job was to con- 



Julia Reichert 

vince the staff at each that this year-long artsy idea would actu- 
ally benefit the kids and not get in the way of the generally rigid 
schedule such facilities provide. But we did not know the juvie 
world and its workings. Clearly we needed an emissary; someone 
who knew and trusted us, but also was an insider to that 
world. We turned to Ed's old probation officer, Tim Currier, 
who graciously filled the bill. There were others, too. The 
trick was to keep talking to leadership people until we found 

one who got the connection 
between art and rehabilita- 
tion. Currier notes, "In the 
juvenile treatment world, 
art can be seen as frivolous, 
and outsiders with no expe- 
rience are mistrusted. 
But the filmmaking as- 
pect was exciting and the 
program sounded pretty 
solid." 

Eventually we were set 
to begin taking these 
kids, all of whom were in 
juvenile treatment or 
detention facilities, 

through the creative 
steps of making a fiction film. The following is how we outlined 
the stages of this project: 

Script reading and story analysis of The Dream Catcher with 
the writers and actors 

Storyboarding scenes from the film 

Scene work in performance and improvisation with an acting 
coach 

Visit on-location set of The Dream Catcher 

Visit editing room, demo/involvement in digital editing 

Hands-on shooting a scene, teens as crew 

Work with artist-in-residence to create short films, each one 
written and directed by the group 

Screen their finished piece at their facility 

Attend a test screening of The Dream Catcher as a work-in- 
progress, offer feedback 

Attend the gala premiere of The Dream Catcher as part of the 
team 

With just a few weeks to go before production, step one was 
put in motion. Youth in the four chosen facilities were given indi- 
vidual copies of The Dream Catcher's 100+ page script. We held 
our breath before the first filmmaker/youth contact. Would kids 



(Clockwise from top left): 

Practicing dolly work at the George Foster Home. 

At Wright State University, editor Jim Klein allows 
kids to try their hand at the Avid and recut a 
scene from The Dream Catcher. 

Co-producer Steve Bognar demostrates a light 
stand at the Nicholas Youth Center. 



36 THE INDEPENDENT March 2001 




involved, o» u 
a quickly groi 
her of school : 



"linetics' booming economy, opp 





>orr.unici 



often the perspectives of yo 

regular distribution channels won't touch then 

small organizations compete for a few grants right now, nut it we 

mi- i selves, we can leverage mote money from a wider 

variety of hinders." As a first step, Faher conducted a national 
survey of youth media organisations, compiling data on types of 
constituencies, equipment, and programs available, and funding 
sources. (See resource list below.) 

A big player in the field is the "Listen Up!" campaign, a 
Kellogg Foundation initiative that funds teens to make PSAs on 
subjects of their choosing. Veteran organizations such as Paper 
Tiger TV, Downtown Community TV, P.O.V., and NAMA.C 
have stepped up to the plate, opening their doors to youthful 
makers. The NEA received .360 applications to its brand-new 
Positive Alternatives for Youth pilot program in 2000 and fund- 
ed 156 of them. 

Emphasis on youth media and artists-in-education is, many 
feel, part of the fallout of the culture wars of the late '80s arid 
early '90s, during which defense of controversial individual 
artists cost the NEA and state arts agencies dearly. As 



'opf observes, 

aonies needed to go to public uses. What more clear, 

'ersial public use than for our youth?" The NEA's 

s, "I don't know if these programs will be safer! But 

: ob of fulfilling Congress's mandate by reaching 

tuency's communities." FabeT adds, "When 

~'l people who have experienced racism, 

and poverty first-hand and have them 

•ed, it definitely challenges the power 

understanding about how to work 
that we need to reach kids 
^"ds, in summer. Research 
_c between.3 and 8 p.m., 
Campbell -Zopf. "And we 
sts need to partner with 
ic, lasting, in-depth pro- 

k up with at-risk youth programs 

ia artist? Want to start your own 

r state arts council and with some of 



6 East 32nd St., 8th fl., New York, NY 10016; (212) 725 7000; 
www.listenup.org; info@listenup.org 

Video Machete 

5732 North Glenwood, Chicago, IL 60660; (773) 506 9970; 
www.videomachete.org; videomachete@hotmail.com. For a sur- 
vey of 40 local projects all over the U.S., contact: MindyfaberiQ hot- 
mail.net 

Creative Links: Positive Alternatives for Youth 

Terry Liu at the NEA; (202) 682 5690; www.arts.gov. A huge web 
site, with many links 

Release Print 

Film Arts Foundation, 346 9th St., 2nd fl., San Francisco CA 
94.10r, (415) 552 8760. The September 2000 issue wcu 
teen media, including incarcerated youth. 

— Julia Reichert 



THE INDEPENDENT 



f 37 



see truth in this story of two lonely boys on the lam? Would they 
even read the script/ Could they read it? 

When Radtke, co -writer M.S. Nieson, and the two young lead 
actors entered the rec room of the Nicholas Youth Center to face 
16 stone -faced young men and several dubious counselors, the 
stakes were high. For the actors, especially 14-year-old lead 
Paddy Connor, the moment was a sobering anchor to character. 
In the film we watch Connor's character, Albert, escape from his 
life in just such a facility. 

Radtke encouraged open dialog. Discussion began. Comments 
flew. It was obvious early on that not only had all the kids read 
and absorbed the script, but they connected. They offered line 
changes, character observations. As the evening drew on, the 
entire script was read aloud by the youth and the writers. A mag- 
ical expressive space grew around this group of men and boys. 
The filmmakers were left humbled and empowered. 

Radtke says, "As a teenager I was disconnected and unin- 
spired. Probably like many of these kids, I sat and stared at the 
walls in school. I was rebellious, too. But that doesn't mean we 
aren't interested in the world. Traditional 
education, math and science, just didn't 
reach us. I wanted to offer the kids a way 
to validate their own experience, their 
detours in life." 

As production began, the program grew 
and the bond between the youth and the 
filmmakers deepened. Along the way there 
were glitches, hurdles to jump. Sometimes 
when an event was scheduled, kids were in 
lock-up or had escaped. A few times a 
whole event was postponed due to kids suf- 
fering consequences. Some staff were more 
supportive than others. It proved important to communicate 
with staff directly, to keep their understanding and enthusiasm 
up, since they continued to work with the kids after our brief 
encounters were over. 

Probably the crowning moments of the production process 
were the days each group of kids came to our set. A scruffy irrev- 
erent film crew suddenly found themselves talking as teachers, 
explaining single-perf vs. double perf, how a Nagra works, the 
proper mix for film blood. The kids loved the make up area, the 
dolly, the grips' rope-tying secrets, being extras. The crew was 
buoyed by their interest and humor. A sense of mission infused 
those days. We hoped the kids would see that there is teamwork, 
very long hours, and a variety of jobs on a film set. We encour- 
aged them to imagine themselves here, and think about what job 
they would enjoy. These visits were high moments for all of us. 
In post, the kids watched Jim Klein, our editor, click away on the 
Avid. Then he challenged them to "cut a scene" to their liking, 
and some did. 

Certainly the most meaningful activity for the kids was the 
opportunity to make their own short movie, with guidance and 
equipment from Steve Bognar, Ed Radtke, and the Ohio Arts 
Council. Bognar is a 12-year veteran of working with kids in 
schools through the Ohio Arts Council's stellar Arts in 
Education program. As Bognar observes, "These young men 
took the work incredibly seriously. This surprised me, because so 




Sizing up a shot at the Greene County Treatment Center. 



many young people use humor and sarcasm as a shield. But these 
guys cut to the chase, negotiating with each other story ideas, 
shot ideas, specific cuts." 

The kids had been through all aspects of filmmaking — writing 
a storyboard, rehearsing actors, shooting, taking sound, and edit- 
ing. By this time, they were prepared for their three- to four-day 
immersion in filmmaking, as they reached the project's video 
production phase. Most groups made short pieces about break- 
ing the law, screwing up, and facing consequences. 

Bognar adds, "We valued the kids' own stories, their own lives. 
This was new to them — that their mistakes, like Ed's, were a val- 
ued part of their life, to be learned from, and they could be the 
basis of artistic expression." Currier adds, "In most facilities, the 
emphasis is on getting the right message to the kids. 
Unfortunately we rarely look for messages from them." 

The whole world of media artists working with at-risk 
and incarcerated youth has mushroomed since 1997 when the 
DYFP was launched. We knew of no precedent to our work. And 
in the course of carrying out this year-long 
project, we learned a lot. 
Making the overall program shorter — say 
four to five months — and less sporadic 
would have been better. But working with 
Bognar and Radtke as artists-in-residence 
during the video production phase should 
have been a much longer, more in-depth 
experience, since making their own films 
had the most impact on the teens. For us, 
the fact that the Iddings Foundation doled 
out the money in very small pieces, spread 
out over more than a year, made it difficult 
to plan and schedule. 

The program was not perfect. Because of the realities of juvie 
life, very few of the kids went through the whole program. This 
was unfortunate. Nonetheless, it made an impact on many of the 
young participants, and it definitely affected us filmmakers, pro- 
viding a measure of that kind of meaningful work we'd set out to 
find when we embarked on this feature film project. 

When The Dream Catcher was finally done, kids came down- 
town to the beautiful Victoria Theatre to see "their movie." The 
director and actors had a private meeting with them backstage 
just before curtain. Then the kids sat among 900 other audience 
members. Although The Dream Catcher was a 35mm blow up 
and the kids' movies were mini-DV, all the mediamakers bonded 
in the experience of examining and affirming their lives though 
the telling of their stories. 

A study guide for using The Dream Catcher with adolescents was 
written by Eric Johnson, with funding from the Iddings Foundation,. 
The guide and a VHS copy of the film are available to teachers and 
youth workers for $20 from: CultureWorks, 126 N. Main St., 
Dayton Ohio 45401. 

Julia Reichert [iulia@donet.com] has been an independent filmmaker for 30 

years. In addition to her work as producer of The Dream Catcher, she and 

partner Steve Bogriar are making a feature-length documentary about kids 

fighting cancer. 



38 THE INDEPENDENT March 2001 



The room crackles with excitement. Four black teenagers 
stand in front of microphones; a singer, two guitars, and a bass. 
An older guy at a big mixing board says, "Quiet, we're going for 
take two, in 3..2..1.." The song tumbles out. It's a slow R&B 
number called "Mama, I'm Sorry." 

This same scene could take place in any town across America, 
except in this room the windows are barred and the players are 
serving hard time. The setting is the Madison Correctional 
Institution in rural Ohio. Here Ohio youth under 18 charged as 
adults serve time. Some are as young as 15, serving years for 
crimes from aggravated robbery to manslaughter. There are cur- 
rently 79 youth age 17 and below at Madison. 

Through special arrangement with Ohio Prevention and 
Education Resource Center (OPERC), filmmaker Ed Radtke led 
a small team of media artists who worked with about two dozen 
young men for seven weeks. It all started when Radke's old pro- 
bation officer, Tim Currier, arranged for Ed and OPERC staff to 
show The Dream Catcher to youth at Madison. The ensuing dia- 
log was so intense and positive that OPERC asked Ed how he 
could continue. The filmmaker sensed a well of creative energy, 
and agreed to try. 

When Radtke asked about the inmates' wishes, he found a 
groundswell of desire to record songs they had written and prac- 
ticed but never had the opportunity to record. He then con- 
vinced professional sound mixer Tim Berger, who he'd met work- 
ing on The Dream Catcher, to join him at the prison. 

The two were touched by the lyrics and intensity of the songs 
and amazed at the quality of the musicians and singers. All the 
songs sprung from the prison experience. A few minutes after 
wrapping "Mama, I'm Sorry," the scene changed. A group of 
white kids stepped up and recorded "All the Way," a fast punky 
teen angst anthem that would rock mosh pits across America. 
How I wish I was free 
Free to do the things that help me 
Break away from these chains on my heart 
Give myself a brand new start. 

According to Radtke, when the inmates heard their recorded 
and mixed songs played back for the first time, some wept. "They 
were overwhelmed, yes, but they also immediately realized they 
could now share their expression. As with all media artists, that 
component is so important, that ability to share our work." 

On other Saturdays the team helped to record inmates' poet- 
ry, taught photography and video, recorded interviews. The 
hours passed quickly and basically without incident. "I am so 
proud of the work we did there," says Radtke. "The kids are 
never trusted with anything in prison. When we handed them a 
camera or camcorder, trusted them with that, showed them how 
to use it, then sent them off to capture images, their faces 
showed sheer joy. They were so focused on the work." 

While there were no real tensions between the inmates and 
the filmmakers, there were increasing difficulties with the prison 
staff. Restrictions mounted, disagreements flared. "We had never 
done anything like this before. And I'm not sure we would do it 
again," said Carol Canode, assistant warden at Madison. 

Media artists who want to work in correctional institutions 
should be realistic about the institutional perspective. The free- 
dom artists are used to was impossible in this setting. Virginia 



Workman, case manager at Madison remembers, "On the one 
hand, we were all excited and did everything we could to see this 
happen and happen in a relaxed atmosphere. On the other 
hand, once it got started we realized it was a security nightmare. 
Ed showed up with so much valuable equipment! We were con- 
cerned with theft, because how could we keep track of all those 
cameras, tapes, film, microphones?" 

Canode, referring to mike cables, explained, "A cord could be 
used to tie someone up. A 6 -to 8-pound camcorder or a micro- 
phone could be used as a weapon. We wanted everything to 
work out, but what if the situation got out of hand?" 

Prison officials were concerned with eliminating what they 
viewed as gang signs or any negativity toward the prison that 
might be recorded. Any image or sound captured on film or tape, 
or even written on paper, had to be reviewed by the prison 
administration. This was frustrating to the media artists and 
OPERC, who wanted to create a finished piece but waited 
months for the okay. The fact that mini DV and S-VHS gear was 
used posed an additional hurdle, since the prison did not have 
access to those formats. Hours of material languished in a card- 
board box. 

Here are a few things we learned from the experience that can 
help others: 

Artists should realize they are entering a different culture. 

Security is a paramount concern. 

Every piece of equipment — down to cables, batteries, lens 
caps, and adapters — should be inventoried before entering and 
re-inventoried again leaving. 

Every roll of film or tape should be labeled and accounted for. 
Use formats that are assessable or provide necessary gear for offi- 
cials to review your tapes. Usually, everything must be reviewed. 

Keep exactly to pre-arranged schedules and plan of content. 

Prisons are rigid as institutions go. 

In spite of the hurdles, the work of building a relationship with 
an institution is well worth it. Incarcerated youth deal with 

deadening 
hours of bore- 
dom. Given a 
tape recorder 
and a camera, 
these young 
men awaken 
with desire to 
express. 

— Julia 
R e i ch ert 




Top: Inmate Stephen McKinney checks the 
sound during a shot. 

McKinney interviews an older inmate who 
has been inside for years. 



•s 



March 



THE INDEPENDENT 39 



For all the creativity that goes into the writing and pro- 
duction of feature films, there's still a troubling amount of homo- 
geneity that goes into their theatrical release. We see the same 
marketing models, the same advertising techniques, the same 
distribution patterns. So much so that the ways of theatrical dis- 
tribution seem like immutable laws of nature. But then there are 
people like David Riker who come along and prove that they're 
not. 

Riker began shaking things up in 1998 when he directed La 




David Riker directing three flower 
vendors in a scene from La Cuidad 
that was shot in Corona, Queens, 
just steps from the Latino-owned 
Plaza Theater, where the film would 
later play to packed houses. 



Ciudad, a feature-length 
quartet of stories about 
immigrant life in 

America's inner cities. 
First, Riker decided to 
make his film in Spanish 
with English subtitles, causing eyebrows to shoot up. He 
further fueled the arguments of skeptics by choosing to 
shoot in black and white. Then he put himself on the line 
by workshopping the script with Latin American immi- 
grants and casting these nonactors in virtually every part. 
But skeptics' predictions fizzled when the film picked 
up prize after prize and stellar reviews. What's more, 
Riker once again proved his ability to think outside of 
the box when it came time to distribute the film. In this 
article, Riker describes his scheme to reach beyond art- 
house theaters and attract Latino communities in 
Queens and Washington Heights in New York City. His plan was 
ingenious, brazen, and enormously successful, but most signifi- 
cantly, it can serve as a reproduceable model for other filmmak- 



ers who want to target specialized audiences. 

The following is an excerpt from a longer discussion about La 
Ciudad recorded on September 1, 2000 at Anthology Film 
Archives by the Artists Network of Refuse & Resist! 
[www.artistsnetwork.org] It was part of their series "Inside the 
Culture of Resistance," videotaped interviews with artists which 
are being edited into programs for future broadcast. Here Riker 
answers a question about the film's visibility in the Latin 
American community. 

When La 
Ciudad was 
released, 
[our dis- 
tributor] 
Zeitgeist 
approached the film as a fairly 
standard arthouse release. Like 
every other distributor we had 
spoken with, Zeitgeist strongly 
believed the Latino audience 
would be small and extremely 
difficult to reach. The film 
opened at the Quad on 13th 
Street [in New York City], but 
the very first weekend, it was 
clear that the audience was not 
only arthouse. Latinos were also 
coming to see 
it. Immigrant 
workers were 
coming to see 
it. They were 
walking around 
13th Street, 
lost, asking people, 'Where is 
the film The Immigrant playing?' 
They had just heard through the 
grapevine there was a film about 
them; some didn't even know the 
title. On the first weekend, people 
ame from as far away as 
Philadelphia, Jersey City, parts 
of Connecticut, Long Island. 
They were coming with their 
babies. And I learned on 
Sunday that the theater was 
turning them away, because 
the Quad has a policy of not 
admitting children under 
five. By Monday, the num- 
bers had been so good the 
owner of the theater agreed 
to waive the policy, and the 
film, instead of playing two 
or three weeks, played there 
almost three months. The 
reason is because the 



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40 THE 



DEPENDENT March 2001 



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Latinos were coming in addition to the Quad's regular arthouse 
audience. 

When the film finished its run at the Quad, I asked Zeitgeist 
for permission to open it up in theaters in the city's Latino neigh- 
borhoods. Zeitgeist agreed, since there was no risk to them, and 
we negotiated a separate deal to allow me to re -release the film 
in a Latino market. 

But I didn't know anything about how to distribute a film. All 
I knew, because it was in the Latino press so much as a kind of 
historic accomplishment of the community, was that there was 
an audience for it. And I knew 
that the main chain of Latino the- 
aters had previously asked 
Zeitgeist for the film in the first 
week of its release, but Zeitgeist 
had declined, saying that there 
was a risk they would never be 
paid. 

So I went to these theaters and 
asked if they were still interested, 
and they said they were. I said, I 
don't know how to do this, but I v > 
know I need money for ads. Will - 
you advance me money?. And 
these theater owners gave me 
$2,500 each — something which, if 
you've ever dealt with 
theaters,"is unheard of. 
That they'd give you 
money before they 
even got the film. They 
gave me cash; I had 
7,500 bucks. With that 
I knew I could buy a 
few ads and make 
leaflets and for $2,500 
make a third print. 

Then I had an idea 
to ask the theaters to 
do something else 
they've never done, 
which is to let people 
see the film without 
paying. I went to the 
theaters and said, "I 
have a brilliant idea; 
it's going to make you a 

lot of money. Let everyone come in for free from Monday morn- 
ing until Friday at 5 p.m., as long as they're school groups in pub- 
lic schools. Open up the theaters. To begin with, no one comes 
into your theaters until the evening. So why not let the commu- 
nity see it? And I can use that to get things rolling." 

They were looking at each other like it's absurd, but somehow 
I convinced them to do it. Then I got some of the Latino politi- 
cians who saw it as a worthwhile cause to agree to do a big press 
conference. And there we were, in front of one of these theaters 
up in Washington Heights, with all the community leaders and 
politicians — and the theater owners, who had borrowed suits ntl 



"* tv 




the peg to be there, for the first time, in front of the cameras. We 
had a slogan, which was, "The doors are open." Every school age 
child could see this for free. 

The theaters were packed. Teachers had something to do. 
They could afford it. The kids went home and told their parents. 
So on the weekends, the theaters were packed. Cipriano Garcia, 
I, and half a dozen of the other actors were there every day, every 
night, handing out leaflets, talking to the audiences. We would 
raid the theaters — we'd go up on the stage, the six of us, before 
the film began. There'd be hundreds of Latin American immi- 
grants and their families. 
The fact that the actors 
they'd heard about on 
TV were on the stage 
made it really very mov- 
ing. 

And we would hand 
out thousands of leaflets, 
which they would take 
out. Also, because there 
was this "children go 
free" policy, I could go to 
Univision, which is the 
number one television 
station for the Latin 
American community, 
and get them to put a 
free PSA on. They ran it 
five or six times a day for 
six or seven weeks. It 
would have cost about 
$200,000. 

So every week we were 
beating the new 
Hollywood films. For the 
first time I began reading 
the trades! Because I 
would see Scream 2 is 
coming out, and we 
would take it as a chal- 
lenge. And then it would 
happen: Saturday night, 
Screen 1 at the theaters 
would be La Ciudad and 
packed, and Screen 2 
would be screening to an 
empty room. It showed 
that the only reason Hollywood dominates is because we let 
them dominate. They have a system; it works for them. Bui it's 
not because that's what people want to see. The minute that 
they were offered an alternative that had some kind o( meaning 
to them, they went to it. We outlived Tigger Movie, PLi\ it to the 
Bone, and about five or six other films. So in total the film played 
for almost five months in Now York City. 

[This model tor the theatrical release] wasn't used outside of 
New York, and I'm very upset about it. Not just because I would 
like that community to see the film in their neighborhoods, but 



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because the revenue from the film would 
have reached a critical point, at which it 
could have been used as an example to 
justify other people doing the same thing. 
The film could have broken a magical 
number, like a million dollars, at which 
point any other filmmaker could use the 
same argument and the distributor is 
going to say, 'let's try it.' It didn't get to 
that point. 

[We didn't reproduce the model else- 
where] not because it couldn't be done, 
but because I personally couldn't do it. 
The model was so sound. For example, 
for those six weeks in Queens and 
Washington Heights, the film earned a 
quarter of all the income it made in a 
year of playing in 60 cities. It's clear if 
someone had taken the same model — it 
was really a blueprint, going for the 
schools, getting them in for free; there 
was a precedent set that Univision would 
offer free ads — the same could be repeat- 
ed in at least eight to 10 cities where 
there's a very large Latin American pop- 
ulation. I offered the model and the blue- 
print to the distributor, but it never hap- 
pened. And for me it would have been 
another year, and I've been trying to 
move on to other work for a long time. 

Editor's note: But before Riker could 
move on to his next film, he threw him- 
self into one final marketing effort — that 
surrounding the PBS broadcast of La 
Ciudad on September 22, 2000. ITVS, 
which helped fund the film, hired a full- 
time activist for six months to travel 
around the country and show La Ciudad 
to community organizations and immi- 
grant rights groups, and it printed 50,000 
discussion guides in English and Spanish. 
Such grassroots outreach efforts are 
rarely found when it comes to fiction 
films, whether they're on television or in 
theaters. On both counts, La Ciudad 
broke the mold. Hopefully, other film- 
makers will have the grit, tenacity, and 
commitment to follow in Riker's foot- 
steps. 

La Ciudad is available through Zeitgeist 
Films (for 35mm) and New Yorker Films 
(for video) — ivww.zeitgesitfilm.com and 
www. newyorkerfilms . com 

David Riker [riker@igc.org] is a New York- 
based independent filmmaker. 



42 THE INDEPENDENT March 2001 



www.aivf.org 



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MediaRights.org 



by Lissa Gibbs 




MoHiaRights 



Some of the 

mediarights 

team at the 

IFP market: 

(l-r) Jenny 

Baum, Julia 

Pimsleur, 

Nicole 

Betancourt, 

David 

Latimer. 



MediaRights.org, 104 W. 14th St., #4, 

New York, NY 10011; 

(646) 230-6288; fax: 230-6328; 

info@mediarights.org; 

www.mediarights.org; 

contacts: Julia Pimsleur, co-founder and 

president; Katy Chevigny, co-founder. 



What exactly is MediaRights.org? 

MediaRights.org is a nonprofit community web site 
designed to make social-issue documentaries and 
advocacy videos easy to find. We are helping com- 
munity organizers integrate social-issue documen- 
taries into their action campaigns and encouraging 
filmmakers to learn how to work with community 
organizers. 

Driving philosophy behind MediaRights.org: 

We want to build a bridge between mediamakers 
and activists working on social and environmental 
issues in the U.S in order to increase the impact of 
both of their work. 

Who is MediaRights ? 

Jenny Baum, associate creative director; Nicole 
Betancourt, creative director; Katy Chevigny, finan- 
cial manager; David Latimer, director of business 
development; Julia Pimsleur, co-founder and pres- 
ident; and Marc Antony Vose, technical lead. 

How, when, and why did MediaRights come into 
being? 

I [Julie Pimsleur] have been a producer of social- 
issue documentaries for several years with my com- 
pany Big Mouth Productions (co-founded with my 
business partner and old friend, Katy Chevigny). 
Some of our films include Innocent Until Proven 
Guilty, Nuyorican Dream, and Brother Born Again— 
all films for which we planned and executed outreach 
campaigns. I had always been frustrated with the 
lack of resources at a filmmaker's disposal for doing 
educational outreach, which I consider a crucial part 
of any documentary distribution plan. The idea for 




MediaRights.org came to me after a 
brainstorming meeting at the Ford 
Foundation in 1998. I was finishing 
up the production of Innocent Until Proven Guilty 
when our program officer at the Ford Foundation, 
Alan Jenkins, invited me to a meeting with a group 
of 15 activists and mediamakers to talk about how 



we could work better together. We all expressed a 
need to keep up with each other's work and stay 
informed about new projects — thus the beginnings 
of a web site. The name comes from the meeting of 
mediamakers and [human] rights organizers. 

The reason we started MediaRights is that we 
believe . . . 

independent mediamakers and people working for 
social change in the field are natural allies. 
Nonprofits and filmmakers already do collaborate 
on occasion and we think they would collaborate 
more often if given the opportunity. We want to 
make it easy for these parties to find each other, 
use the films that already exist, and 
create media for social change togeth- 
er. The Internet is the perfect place to 
create this kind of community that 
crosses geographic, age, gender, race, 
and professional lines. We organize our 
site around the issues that mediamak- 
ers, activists and educators are all 
passionate about, including racial jus- 
tice, economic justice, women's rights, 
and health issues. 

Where does the money come from to 
fund MediaRights' activities? 

Our main funders to date are the Ford 
Foundation and the Open Society 
Institute. We are currently approaching 
other foundations and also building in 
revenue streams to the site itself. Our 
goal is to be self-sustaining by 2005. 
MediaRights.org is a project of Arts 
Engine. Inc.. a nonprofit 501(c)3. 

If I went to MediaRights 
site, what would I find? 
MediaRights features a 
database of over 1.200 
social issue documen- 
taries organized around 
14 social issues and a 
database of over 600,000 
nonprofits in the U.S. There are also resources for 
filmmakers (funding sources, production tips, 
etc.), original articles about successful education- 
al outreach campaigns, and other examples of how 



March 2001 THE INDEPENDENT 43 



DISTRIBUTOR 



media can be used to make a difference. You can 
register as a member, list your film, and add your- 
self to the activist/nonprofit database or the media- 
makers database. You can also post messages or 
review films in our database. We are in the process 
of doing a major redesign right now [due for com- 
pletion by February], Some of the new features will 
include: On TV, a television schedule of social-issue 
documentaries on cable; a Youth Center for young 
mediamakers and activists; and the Media That 
Matters Online Film Festival. 



How is the site organized? 

From the home page you can search for films or 
nonprofit organizations and see our current and 
past articles. We feature 14 main issues around 



"We are providing easy access 
for documentary film purchasers to 
find the films of over 20 educational 
distributors in one place." 




which our site is organized, which include econom- 
ic justice, the environment, racial justice, immigra- 
tion, and health. One way you can easily keep up 
with what is going on at MediaRights.org is to reg- 
ister as a member (it's free) and then you will 
receive our e-mail newsletter every few weeks. 
Being a member also gives you the ability to cus- 
tomize the newsletter (and eventually the whole 
site) to your particular interests. 

On the web, what's the difference between dis- 
tribution and exhibition? 

We are acting as an outlet for distributors — we are 
providing easy access for documentary film pur- 
chasers to find the films of over 20 educational 
distributors in one place. Users of our site buy or 
rent videotapes directly from the distributors. 
Eventually, when enough people have access to 
greater bandwidth, we will stream trailers and per- 
haps make it possible for people to download an 
entire film. We are waiting for streaming video to 
be as easy and reliable as reading information and 
also for working business models of how people 
can exhibit online and still earn a living. We have 
been watching the music industry and the Napster 
debate very closely, since we will be facing many of 
the same issues in the film industry. We are mak- 
ing forays into streaming media, such as our online 
film festival which we will premiere in June: The 
Media that Matters Online Film Festival, co-pre- 
sented with the Human Rights Watch International 
Film Festival and powered by Reelplay.com. 

What's the difference between MediaRights 
and a traditional distributor? 

Just to clarify, we are not a distributor. We are 
working with educational distributors to provide an 
Internet outlet for their collections and for individ- 
ual filmmakers. Over 20 educational distributors 
have given us their catalogue listings, which are 
now included in our database, and numerous film- 
makers have submitted their films directly to us. In 
addition to making films more easily available to 
traditional documentary buyers, such as teachers 
and librarians, we are approaching new markets. 
We will be attending conferences and doing work- 
shops about using media for social change in the 
upcoming months. We are also talking to other web 
sites, especially community sites, about putting 
our database on their site to make our films avail- 
able to their users. 

What's appealing to a filmmaker about having 
his/her work listed on MediaRights? 

By listing your film with MediaRights, your work is 



Top to Bottom: MediaRights's home page; Larry Selman, 
title character in I'm a Collector, pictured with filmmaker 
Alice Elliot; Jimmy Marks celebrates a victory in Federal 
courts in Jasmine DeUaYs American Gypsy. 



made available to powerful community leaders 
across the country. It's great exposure if you want 
your film to be used for social change. We link 
directly to the e-mail or web site of the filmmaker 
or distributor, whoever is selling the video to the 
educational market. Another useful feature we 
have is that filmmakers can have their films 
reviewed by users. And we highlight at least one 
film per month from our database on our home 
page, helping to give the film more exposure and an 
extra push. 

Our site makes it easier for people who use 
media to find useful films and it also makes it eas- 
ier for people who don't traditionally use media to 
find films, because they browse the collection by 
issue. For example, a teacher looking for media on 
the civil rights movement might come to our site 
looking for a well-known series like Eyes on the 
Prize and might find three other films in the same 
category. They might buy two films from two differ- 
ent distributors and one made by a filmmaker who 
hasn't yet found a distributor. We even list works- 
in-progress. 

Describe the type of media works listed on 
MediaRights: 

We have written articles about the educational out- 
reach campaigns for such documentaries as A 
Force More Powerful; The Farm: Angola, USA; and 
Legacy. Our database includes over 1,200 social- 
issue documentaries, and we expect it to double in 
four months. We are adding a "YM" symbol which 
will identify youth-produced work, because there 
are a lot of young people making videos and not 
many ways for them to distribute their work. The 
other thing that sets us apart is that we are aggre- 
gating advocacy videos — short films that are used 
by nonprofits to get their points across. Though 
there are thousands of these videos out there, 
there is no way to find them on or offline, except on 
MediaRights.org. 

How is the decision made to add titles to the 
site? 

Anyone who wants to list his/her film can. The only 
criteria is that the film must be a social-issue doc- 
umentary. Filmmakers can go to the site and click 
on "List Your Film." We verify the information and 
add it to our database. Distributors can list all or 
part of their collection with MediaRights. We work 
with them to find which films fit into our categories. 

How many "hits" are recorded daily on 
MediaRights? 

We don't have a lot of traffic at the moment 
because we are new (we launched in July 2000) 
and are just at the beginning of our public relations 
campaign. Word is getting out, though, via our cur- 
rent users and our partners. Our users and mem- 



44 THE INDEPENDENT March 2001 



bers double monthly. We partnered with more 
established web sites such as Human Rights 
Watch, Witness, and the Benton Foundation, who 
help to drive traffic to our site. 

How do people find out about MediaRights.org? 

We work very closely with our partners, which are 
like-minded organizations such as AIVF, ITVS, and 
Paper Tiger TV, as well as the ones mentioned 
above. They link to us off their sites and through 
this coalition we are able to reach over 30,000,000 
people and create collaborative initiatives. We are 
also listed with many online directories/search 
engines. 

The most important issue facing MediaRights 
today is. . . 

Finding ways to be self-sustaining. We are grateful 
for our foundation support, but want to make sure 
that we can support our own operating costs so in 
the future we don't have to rely on funding. 

Five years from now MediaRights will. . . 

be the best place to find social issue documen- 
taries. We will also be streaming films in our online 
theater, helping filmmakers to plan and execute 
their outreach campaigns, and enabling nonprofits 
to easily find films or make new films about specif- 
ic social issues. 

The Internet has a huge potential for changing 
the way just about everything is distributed. Do 
you think an electronic nonprofit such as 
MediaRights represents the future model of 
media advocacy in this country? 
I think the web is a great resource for aggregating 
information, but it doesn't replace traditional out- 
reach. MediaRights.org makes it possible for people 
to find each other easily, but they still need to cre- 
ate relationships "off line" or face-to-face. 
MediaRights will be building more tools for nonprof- 
its and filmmakers to use right off the web site, but 
filmmakers and activists will always have to roll up 
their sleeves and make those personal connections. 
Any web site, like a traditional distributor, is only as 
good as the people running it. I am very fortunate to 
have an extremely talented and committed staff, 
who are not only great people but have years of 
experience and really believe in what we are doing. 

Distributor FAQ profiles a wide range of distributors of 
independent film and video. Send profile sugestions to 
Lissa Gibbs, c/o The Independent, 304 Hudson St., 6 fl., 
New York, NY 10013; or drop an email to lissag@earth 
link.net 

Lissa Gibbs is a contributing editor to The Independent 

and former Film Arts Foundation Fest director. AIVF is 

one of MediaRights.org's partner organizations. 





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Film Arts Foundation 




FAF grants 
associate 
Adrianna 
Rosas-Walsh (r) 
with Amahl 
Khouri, the 1999 
STAND recipient. 



What is Film Arts Foundation? 

FAF supports the creation, exhibition and distribu- 
tion of independent film and video, by providing 
resources, education, and exhibition opportunities. 

When and why did FAF come into being? 

FAF was founded in 1976 by a handful of filmmak- 
ers who felt a void and filled it by creating an orga- 
nization that now services 3,400 members working 
in film, video, and multimedia. FAF's membership 
spans a broad range from students to Academy 
Award-winning filmmakers. Our magazine, 
Release Print, is the link to all our members. 

Who makes up the foundation? 

Staff is 12 full time with five part-time positions 
and extra staff when needed throughout the year. 
Over half of the staff are film- and videomakers. 

The driving philosophy behind FAF is . . . 

That all independent film- and videomakers should 
have the tools they need to create, exhibit, and dis- 
tribute their projects, and that independent film is 
seen within the society at large as an important 
artistic and cultural contribution that should be 
supported and embraced. 

What distinguishes FAF from other media arts 
organizations? 

FAF offers education and training, funding and 
exhibition. In a time of shrinking resources, we 
continue to offer low cost access to production and 
postproduction equipment (super 8, 16mm, video, 
and digital) and present workshops and seminars 
on high-end and low-end technology (film hand- 
processing, traditional animation, optical printing). 
In San Francisco, FAF is seen as the institution that 
makes things happen. 

When and why did you decide to act as a f un- 
der? 

Established as a postproduction center and a fiscal 
sponsor, FAF grew over time, adding services, and 
funding seemed the next logical step. In 1984, 
when the program was initiated, the NEA was still 
providing grants to individuals and supporting the 



Film Arts Foundation, 346 Ninth St., 

2nd fl., San Francisco, CA 94103; 

(415) 552-8760; fax: 552-0882; 

www.filmarts.org 

contact: Adriana Rosas-Walsh, grants 

associate/sponsorship 



NEA Regional Fellowships Program. At the time, the 
NEA western region was 13 states and territories, 
too big an area with too many gifted artists and 
producers. Northern California (along with the AFI) 
provided at least 50% of the applications 
annually, which constituted most of the 
awards to West Coast artists. Obviously 
this was not enough! 

How has the funding climate for non- 
commercial independent media 
changed since the FAF initiated its 
grant program? 

Other small funds now exist and after a 
12 year battle, the Independent Television 
Service (ITVS) came into being to fund 
television documentaries and narratives. 
ITVS brought more money into funding 
media for TV, and at the same time, 
smaller funders saw media being funded 
and decided to re-direct their resources 
to other issues. Many of the projects FAF 
funds in development end up getting 
completion funding from ITVS. 

What percentage of the FAF's overall 
budget goes towards individual film or 
video projects? 

All proceeds are from a separate Endowment 
which is strictly in existence to fund FAF grants. 
The Endowment fund for indie media provided 
about $35,000 of the $68,000 we granted in 2000. 
The Endowment principle now totals $600,000. 

How many awards are given out per year for 
each grant? What is the total dollar amount 
awarded annually? 

In 2000, we gave 16 cash awards valued at 
$68,500 and 12 awards in materials and access 
valued at over $52,000. (Development grants: 
$2,500; Completion/Distribution: $8,000.) The 
amount varies annually based on how much we 
earn and raise from other sources. 

What are the average sizes of these grants? 

Cash awards can range from $2,500 to $10,000: 



by Michelle Coe 

Materials and Access awards from $1,500 (per 
grant) to $48,000 (awarded to one feature film- 
maker as the Eickman Award). Cash awards 
amounts depend on our earnings and what we 
raise from outside funders. 

How many applications do you get on average 
per year? 

We receive an average of 350, with most in the 
Personal Works and Completion/Distribution cate- 
gories. 

What are the restrictions on applicants' qualifi- 
cations (e.g., ethnicity, geography, medium)? 




Grants are awarded only to individuals who cur- 
rently reside, and have resided for at least one year 
prior to the deadline, in the 10 Bay Area counties: 
San Francisco, Marin, Sonoma, Napa, Solano, 
Alameda, Contra Costa, San Mateo, Santa Clara, 
and Santa Cruz. 

What types of projects does FAF seek? 

We look for innovations in form, projects that "push 
the envelope." Our awards are targeted for film and 
videomakers in categories that are among the most 
difficult areas to raise funds: i.e., experimental or 
personal shorts. 

Your Cash Awards program funds projects at 
various stages of production. Can individuals 
funded in the development stage come back to 
you for distribution funds? 



46 THE INDEPENDENT March 2001 



Yes, we encourage this sort ot thing. When a project 
returns for completion/distribution funds we 
already have a stake in seeing it through to com- 
pletion. 

What types of projects does the Personal Works 
grant fund? 

Priority is given to artistic concepts that challenge 
and expand the film/video art form. Also, the pro- 
ject must begin and be completed within the 
($4,000) grant amount. 



to production and postproduction equipment, 25 
hours of project mentoring by a professional film- 
maker, and exhibition of completed works — with 
no actual cash given. 

In the Blazing Paradigm Award, one recipient 
gets use of a Final Cut Pro system to finish their 
project of 30 minutes or less, and development 




How do the completion/distribution grants dif- 
fer? 

The Completion/Distribution grant awards the final 
amount needed to complete or distribute the pro- 
ject — no more, no less. Generally, these awards go 
to more established filmmakers. 

How long have you offered STAND, and what was 
the motivation to establish this program? 

Because we always received grant applications 
from first-timers, we thought, "How can we best 
help them get skills?" STAND (Support, Training & 
Access for New Directors) was established in 1996 
to assist individuals who see themselves as an 
under-represented community and have no prior 
production in their name. The award's value is 
$1,500 in services — including training and access 



and production of two promo- 
tional pieces. How did an ad agency get 
involved with your to efforts to fund less con- 
ventional projects? 

Blazing Paradigm wanted to connect with the Bay 
Area indie community in some way, and our devel- 
opment director at the time worked closely with 
them to create a program that would best suit both 
parties. The corporate world is always looking for 
new talent, as well as creative ways to give back to 
the community. 

Does the Robin Eickman Feature Film Award 
fund strictly fiction features? 

Yes. The only other requirements are that a project 
have a completed screenplay and be at least 72 
minutes in length. Priority is given to projects with 
financing for the balance of production funds in 
place. 

What are the Phelan Art Awards? How is this 



award recipient decided? 

The Phelan Art Awards in Film is an artist fellow- 
ship given every other year in recognition of high 
artistic achievement and creativity in film. One 
California-born filmmaker (regardless of current 
residency) with an established body of work in film 
(not video) is awarded $7,500. These filmmakers 
submit work themselves; they are not nom- 
inated. Bay Area Video Coalition does the 
same for the Video award. A panel of jurors 
working in exhibition, funding, and film crit- 
ics/scholars selects the recipient. 

Name some of the best-known titles 
and/or artists you have funded. 

Phelan awards: James Brougton, Yvonne 

Rainer, Arthur Dong, Craig Baldwin, Curtis 

Choy, Marv Newland, Steven Okazaki, 

Michael Wallin, Pat O'Neill, Chick Strand, 

and Kenneth Anger. 

FAF Grants: Chuck Hudina {Black Heat), 

Susana IVlunoz and Lourdes Portillo (Las Madres 

de Plaza de Mayo), Deborah Brubaker (El Camino 

de los Zapatos), Rob Epstein and Peter Adair 

(Songs for the Living), Marlon Riggs (Tongues 

Untied), Barbara Hammer (X-Rays), Jay Rosenblatt 

(The Smell of Burning Ants), Doug Wolens 

(Butterfly), and Chip Lord (Awakening from the 

21 st Century). 

You have one deadline for all your grants. 
Explain your funding cycle and deadlines. 

grants (except for Phelan) are awarded annual- 
ly in June with the call for entries in February and 
an April deadline. Recipients are required to file 
progress and final reports upon completion of the 
project, and a copy of the work for FAF's archives. 

Once the applicant receives funding, are there 
time frame restrictions within which the funds 
must be used? How soon can the individual 
apply for funds again? 

STAND recipients must complete their projects a 
year after funding, and can only use the award 
towards materials/access at FAF. If an individual 
receives funding in any category, they can apply for 
funding the year after next; i.e., 2000 recipients are 
re-eligible in 2002. Completion/Distribution grants 
must make up the remaining money needed to 
complete or distribute the project. Personal Works 
money must be solely used for the project proposed 
and all its phases of production. 

Who are the Program Officers? 
Gail Silva, Executive Director, Alicia Schmidt. 
Development Director, and Adnana Rosas-Walsh, 
Grants Coordinator. 

Who makes the awards decisions? 

Grants panels mainly consist of past recipients and 



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11 Call lor Entries 




ISLAND 
FILWl FESTIVAL 

18th Annual fill/Video Festival 

Westhampton Beach Performing Arts Center 
May 3rd-6th, 2001 

Call or Write for Entry Forms (Due 4/1/01) 

Christopher Cooke, Director 

Long Island Film Festival 

c/o P.O. Box 13243 

Hauppauge, NY 11788 

1-800-762-4769 • (631) 853-4800 

From 10:00am-6pm, Mon-Fri 

or visit our website at www.Iifilm.org 



programmers: Bruce Conner, Louise Lo, Trinh T. 
Minh-ha, Irina Leimbacher (San Francisco 
Cinematheque), Cornelius Moore (California 
Newsreel), Gustavo Vazquez, Nick Katsapetses, 
and Ellen Bruno. 

Phelan panel (exhibitors/critics): Peter Scarlet 
(SF Int'l Film Festival), Jennifer Morris (SF Int'l 
Lesbian and Gay Film Festival), Linda Blackaby (SF 
Int'l Asian American Film Festival), and B. Ruby 
Rich (film critic). 

Tell us about the review process. 

The written applications are given to the five-per- 
son panel within days of the application deadline. 
Two to three weeks later, the panel meets and 
selects semi-finalists, who then submit sample 
reels. The recipients are selected from both the 
written application and sample reel. 

What advice do you have for media artists in 
putting forth a strong application? 

Be clear, consistent, and stay simple. Be sure to be 
realistic about the budget-feasibility. Stay focused 
on why you need the funding, and be sincere about 
your need. 

What is the most common mistake applicants 
make? 

Not following guidelines. Applicants must be sure 
that they read every section of an application. You 
may hurt your chances because of a simple error 
that could have been avoided. Remember, always 
double — even triple — check your application 
before sending it out to a funder. 

What would people most be surprised to learn 
about the FAF and/or its founders? 

That FAF was brought to life one night by a group of 
avant-garde and documentary filmmakers, in 
someone's San Francisco living room over wine 
and beer. Twenty-five years later, most of them are 
still members. 

Other foundations or grantmaking organiza- 
tions you admire and why. 

Pacific Pioneer Fund for their encouragement of 
emerging documentary filmmakers; Jerome 
Foundation for their artist fellowships; Paul 
Robeson Fund/Funding Exchange for supporting 
social change media and funding for development 
and distribution. 

What distinguishes the FAF from other funders? 

For funding personal works; putting past recipients 
on the panels; funding both emerging and estab- 
lished makers. 

Famous last words: 

FAF is one of the few places where individuals can 
receive funding. 

Michelle Coe is program director at AIVF. 



48 THE INDEPENDENT March 2001 






by Scott Castle 

listings do not constitute an endorsement, 
we recommend that you contact the festival 
directly before sending cassettes, as details 
may change after the magazine goes to press, 
deadline: 1st of the month two months prior 
to cover date (april 1 for june issue). include 
festival dates, categories, prizes, entry fees, 
deadlines, formats & contact info. send to: 
scott@aivf.org 

Domestic 

chicago underground film festival, aug. 17-23, 

IL Deadlines: April 7 (early); May 15 (final). 8th install- 
ment of Chicago's premiere independent film event. Fest 
was created to promote films & videos that innovate in 
form, technique, or content & present works that chal- 
lenge & transcend commercial expectations. Awards: 
cash prizes awarded in following categories; narrative 
feature, narrative short, doc, experimental, animation, 
music video, audience choice & "Made in Chicago." 
Formats: 35mm, 16mm, super 8, video. Entry fees: $20 
(early); $35 (final). Contact: CUFF, 3109 North Western 
Ave., Chicago, IL 60618; (773) 327-3456; fax: 327- 
3464; info@cuff.org; www.cuff.org 

CRESTED BUTTE REEL FEST, Aug. 8-12, CO. Deadlines: 
March 16 (animation, experimental, drama, doc & com- 
edy); April 30 (student). Competitive short film fest 
seeks to nurture a growing community interest in film as 
a form of art & entertainment through exhibition, discus- 
sion & education. All films must be under 40 min., 
except docs (under 60 min.). Awards: Gold winners in 
the five regular cats receive $350; Silver winners, $250; 
student awards, $200 (Gold) & $100 (Silver). Formats: 
35mm, Beta, 16mm, 3/4", 1/2". Preview on VHS (NTSC). 
Entry fees: $30 (student w/ proof of status); $35 (all 
other cats). Contact: CBFF, Jessica Hunt, exec, dir., Box 
1733, Crested Butte, CO 81224; (970) 349-2600; fax: 
349-1384; cbreelfest@webcom.com; www.crestebutte 
reelfest.com 

DAHLONEGA INTERNATIONAL FILM FESTIVAL, June 
28-July 1, GA. Deadlines: March 31 (early); April 30 
(final). Fest seeks to redefine the corrupted term 
"Independent" by offering underexposed film & video 
makers in emerging digital formats a higher profile venue 
and to create a sense of motivation within a close-knit 
international community. If your film is not selected by the 
jury for a big screen screening, you will still get a slot on 
the schedule in the video library. Cats: 15 categories (see 
web site). Formats: 35mm, 16mm, super 8, digital video. 
Preview on VHS. Entry fees: $15 (15 sec-3 min.); $20 (3- 
15 min.) ; $30 (15-30 min.); $40 (30-60 min.) ; $50 (over 
60 min.). Contact: DIFF, 543-B Stokeswood Ave., East 
Atlanta Village, GA 30316; www.d-l-f-f.org 

DANCES WITH FILMS, June, CA. Deadlines: March 30 
(early); April 27 (final). Fest promises "No politics. No 
stars. No shit." Fest is a competitive event featuring a 
line-up of a dozen feature-length narrative films & a 
dozen narrative shorts. All films admitted for screening 
are selected using only one major criterion-, they must 
have been completed w/out any known director, actors, 
producers, or monies from known sources (e.g., known 



production companies). Films must have been complet- 
ed by Jan. 1, 1999. Formats: Beta SR digital, 16mm, 
35mm. Preview on VHS. Entry fees: early, $50 (feature), 
$35 (short); all late entries are $75. Contact: DWF, 1041 
N. Formosa Ave. Pickford Bldg. Rm. 203, West Hollywood, 
CA 90046; (323) 850-2929; fax: 850-2928; info@ 
danceswithfilms.com; www.DancesWithFilms.com 

DA VINCI FILM AND VIDEO FESTIVAL, July 12-21, OR 
Deadline: March 20 (early); April 20 (final). Fest is look- 
ing for original works not exceeding 30 min. in length 
(docs can only be a max of 60 min.). Submissions of any 
style are welcome: animation, narrative, doc, music 
video, foreign, etc in three main categories: kinder- 
garten-high school, college, and independent. Awards: 
Juried & People's Choice Awards given in each cat. 
Formats: film, video, digital. Preview on VHS (NTSC 
only). Entry fees: college/indie $15 (early), $25 (final); 
K-12 $5 (early), $15 (final). Contact: dVFVF, Tina 
Hutchens, fest director, Box 1536, Corvallis, OR 97339; 
(541) 745-6651; fax: 754-7590; davincifilm@buz- 
zlink.com; www.davincidays.org/2001/film_video.html 

DENVER INTERNATIONAL EXPERIMENTAL FILM FESTI- 
VAL, June 7-14, CO. Deadline: May 1. Fest accepting 
experimental works of all lengths & genres produced 
anytime in the last 100 years. Formats: 35mm, 16mm, 
super 8, digital video, S-VHS, VHS. Preview on VHS. Entry 
fee: $25. Contact: DIEFF, Richard Sanchez, dir., 4129 
Xavier St., Denver, CO 80212; (313) 964-8601; 
DIEFilmFestival@aol.com 

DOCSIDE FILM FESTIVAL, Aug., TX. Deadlines: March 
15 (early); March 31 (final). Fest is organized by the 
Documentary Film Project, the only non-profit documen- 
tary film society in Texas. Cats: shorts, features. Awards: 
Best Short Doc, Best Feature Doc, Best Experimental 
Doc, Jury Award & Audience Award. Foreign entries need 
to have subtitles & clearances. Formats: 35mm, 16mm, 
VHS, digital. Preview on VHS. Entry fees: $20 (early); $30 
(final). Contact: DFF, Documentary Film Project, attm 
Lucila Vasquez, 317 Lexington, Ste. #363, San Antonio, 
TX 78215; (210) 532-4901; dfproject@yahoo.com; 
www.docfilmproject.org 

DOMINIQUE DUNNE YOUNG FILMMAKERS VIDEO/FILM 
FESTIVAL, May 12, CO. Deadline: April 5. 30th yr of int'l 
competition open to any student currently enrolled in 
high school grades 9-12 or college freshman entering a 
film produced w/in past 12 mos. Entries must be sole 
work of student filmmaker or filmmakers, w/ 2/3 original 
content. Awards in dramatic/narrative (8-24 min.), 
experimental (3-12 min.) & stop-action/computer ani- 
mated. Awards (one per cat; 6 total): 1st, $100; 2nd, 
$75; 3rd, $50. Formats: VHS. Preview on VHS. Entry fee: 
$12 & s.a.s.e. Contact: DDYFVFF, David Manley, Fountain 
Valley School of Colorado, Colorado Springs, CO 80911; 
(719) 392-2657; fax: 391-9039; dunnefest@ftnval- 
ley.com; www.fvs.edu/studlife/epdomini.html 

GOLDEN SHOWER VIDEO FESTIVAL, June 8-9, TX. 
Deadline: April 28. Looking for features and shorts out of 
the mainstream. Prizes: 1st, lowrider bike; 2nd, mini 
accordion; 3rd, lucha libre gear. Format: VHS. Preview on 
VHS. Entry fee: $10 cash only, no checks or money orders. 
All selected works get a free t-shirt. An official entry form 
must accompany all entries; avail, for download from web 
site. Contact: GSVF Adam Rocha, 8039 Callaghan Rd. 



#611, San Antonio, TX 78230; tel/fax: (512) 457-8780; 
voicemail: (210) 885-5888; www.safilm.com 

HOLLYWOOD FILM FESTIVAL, Aug. 2-6, CA. Deadline: 
March 31. 5th annual fest seeks to bridge the gap between 
emerging filmmakers & established Hollywood. Cats: fea- 
ture, doc, short, animation. Awards: up to $100,000 in 
postproduction services. Winners get access to buyers, 
cash & VIP passes. Formats: 16mm, 35mm, video. 
Preview on VHS. Entry fee: $50. Contact: HFF, Carlos de 
Abreu, 433 N. Camden Dr., Ste. 600, Beverly Hills, CA 
90210; (310) 288-1882; fax: 475-0193; awards@holly 
woodawards.com; www.hollywoodfestival.com 

HOT SPRINGS DOCUMENTARY FILM FESTIVAL, Oct. 
12-21, AR. Deadlines: March 28; April 28 (late). Annual 
fest accepting nonfiction film submissions for one of the 
country's premier nonfiction film celebrations. 
Noncompetitive fest honors films and filmmakers each 
year in beautiful Hot Springs National Park, Arkansas. 
More than 70 films are screened, including the current 
year's Academy Award nominees in nonfiction cate- 
gories. Special guest scholars, filmmakers & celebrities 
participate in forums & lectures. Cats: documentary, 
works-in-progress. Formats: 35mm, 16mm, VHS, 3/4". 
Preview on VHS. Entry fees: $25; $45 (late) Contact: 
HSDFF Melanie Masino, HSDFI, Box 6450, Hot Springs, 
AR 79102; (501) 321-4747; fax: 321-0211; hsdff@ 
docufilminst.org; www.docufilminst.org 

LONG ISLAND FILM FESTIVAL, May 3-6, June & Aug., 
NY. Deadline: April 15 (films); June 1 (screenplays). 18th 
annual competitive fest, screened over 50 features & 
shorts last year, selected from entries submitted from 
around the world. Cats: arts & entertainment, doc & 
education, and student. Awards: 1st prizes presented in 
all cats (film & video), w/ cash awards TBA. Formats: 
35mm, 16mm, 3/4", 1/2", DVD. Preview on VHS. Entry 
fees: $25 (screenplays & films up to 15 min.) ; $40 (15 
to 30 min.) ; $60 (30-60 min.); $75 (over 60 min.). 
Contact: LIFE Chris Cooke, Box 13243, Hauppauge, NY 
11788; (800) 762-4796; fax: (631) 853-4888; Suffolk 
film@yahoo.com; www.lifilm.org 

MAINE INTERNATIONAL FILM FESTIVAL, July 6-15, ME. 
Deadlines: March 15 (early); April 30 (final). Fest pri- 
marily seeks features shot in 35mm and short films & 
videos "shot in Maine or with a significant Maint focus." 
Formats: 35mm, 3/4", VHS, Beta SR Preview on VHS. 
Entry fees: $30 (early); $40 (final). Entry form avail, on 
web site. Contact: MIFF, 10 Railroad Sq., Waterville, ME 
04901; (207) 861-8138; fax: 872-5502; info@miff.org; 
www.miff.org 

MARIN COUNTY NATIONAL FESTIVAL OF SHORT 
FILMS, July 2-6, CA. Deadlines: March 16 (early); April 
13 (final). 31st annual fest runs as part of the Marin Co. 
Fair w/ films screening daily. Maximum running time is 
30 min. Film submitted must have been completed after 
Jan. 1, 1999. Cats: animation, student, independent, 
documentary, experimental, family. Awards: Up to 
$2,400 in awards for independent, student, and animat- 
ed films & up to three honorable mention ribbons award- 
ed. Formats: 16mm. Preview on VHS. Entry fees: early, 
$20 (short), $35 (foreign); final, $25 (short). $40 (for- 
eign). Contact: MCNFSF. Mann Co. Fair, 10 Ave. of the 
Flags, San Rafael. CA 94903; (415) 499-6400; fax: 499- 
3700; cbarboni@marin.org 



March 2001 THE INDEPENDENT 49 



5 






E) 



METHOD FEST INDEPENDENT FILM FESTIVAL, June 16- 
23, CA. Deadline: April 28. Named for the 'Stanislavski 
Method,' test highlights the great performances of inde- 
pendent film. Seeking story driven films with outstanding 
acting performances. Cats: feature, short. Awards: 
Sculpted statuettes in various categories, film services & 
5000 feet of Fuji Motion Picture Film to winning film. 
Awards to Best Actor, Actress, Screenplay. Formats: 
16mm, 35mm, Beta SP, DV. Preview on VHS. Entry fees: 
$35 (short); $50 (feature). Contact: MFIFF, Elaine Wood or 
Don Franken, Franken Enterprises, 880 Apollo St. Ste. 337, 
El Segundo, CA 90245; (310) 535-9230; fax: 535-9128; 
Don@methodfest.com: www.methodfest.com 

NANTUCKET FILM FESTIVAL, June 20-24, MA. Dead- 
lines: April 14 (film); March 16 (screenplay competi- 
tion). Fest focuses on screenwriters & their craft, pre- 
sents feature films, short films, docs, staged readings, 
Q&A w/ filmmakers, panel discussions & the Morning 
Coffee With... series. Writers are encouraged to present 
their films & works-in-progress & get feedback from 
other screenwriters & filmmakers. Cats: Any style or 
genre. Film submissions: entry must not have had com- 
mercial distribution or U.S. broadcast. Screenplay com- 
petition: entry must be screenwriter's original, unpro- 
duced work. AwardsJony Cox Award for Screenwriting 
Competition, Best Writer/Director Award, Audience 



08901; (732) 932-8482; fax: 932-1935; njmac@ 
aol.com; www.rci.rutgers.edu/~nigrin 

NOMAD VIDEOFILM FESTIVAL, June tour, WA, OR, CA. 
Deadline: April 1. Berkeley-based fest has been a Pacific 
Coast touring venue for alternative media since 1992, w/ 
stops in Port Townsend WA, Seattle, Portland, San Fran., 
Santa Monica & others. Fest seeks short video/films (15 
min. max, any category) expressing audacity & strong 
visions. No theme this year; short docs & animation 
encouraged. Awards: No cash prizes, selected entries 
receive written audience responses. Works can originate 
in any video, film &/or media format. Formats: DV. Preview 
on VHS. Entry fee: $15 (no fee for int'l entries). Contact: 
NVF, Box 7518, Berkeley, CA 94707; (510) 464-4640; 
vpool@sirius.com; www.verticalpool.com/vstuff.html 

OUTFEST: THE LOS ANGELES GAY AND LESBIAN FILM 
FESTIVAL, July 12-23, CA. Deadline: March 31 (films); 
April 28 (screenplays). Held at the Directors Guild of 
America & nearby venues, fest seeks films & videos about 
and/or of interest to gay men, lesbians, bisexuals & trans- 
genders. Seeking narrative features, doc features & shorts. 
Rough cuts & works-in-progress are eligible for submission 
if an exhibition print or tape will be avail. June 15, 2001. 
Cats: feature, doc, short, gay/lesbian, animation, experi- 
mental. Awards: Twelve awards ranging from $500 to 




Nomadic Existence 



Around the time Nirvana put 
Seattle back on the alternative map 
in 1992, Nomad started up as a 
bimonthly screening room for exper- 
imental media. For the next two 
years the fest set up its big screen video monitor and sound system, every other month, 
at a different Seattle venue; night clubs, restaurants, art galleries, warehouses. Then in 
1995 it-was reborn as the Nomad VideoFilm Festival, an annual Pacific Coast touring 
venue. The tour visits small towns and big cities alike (Port Townsend and Seattle, WA; 
Portland, OR; and San Francisco and Mendocino, CA) , offering a wide range of audi- 
ence feedback by asking the crowds in each town to write down their reactions to the 
work, which is sent straight to the mediamakers. See Listing. 



Awards for Best Feature and Short Film. Formats: 
35mm, 16mm. Preview on VHS. Entry fees: $40 (fea- 
tures); $25 (shorts. 35 mm. or less). Contact: NFF, Jill 
Goode, Artistic Director, Box 688, Prince St. Station, New 
York, NY 10012; (508) 325-6274; ackfest@aol.com; 
www.nantucketfilmfestival.org 

NEW JERSEY INTERNATIONAL FILM FESTIVAL, June & 

July, NJ. Deadline: April 6. 6th annual fest showcases the 
best in independent film & video, featuring premiere 
screenings of award-winning works, seminars, panels 
discussions & guest appearances. Max film age is 24 
months, no repeat entries. Cats: animation, doc, short, 
experimental, feature. Formats: 16mm, 35mm, 3/4", 
Beta SP, Hi-8, digital. Preview on VHS. Entry fees: $35 
(up to 20 min.); $45 (between 20-50 min.); $60 (over 50 
mm.). Contact: NJIFF, Rutgers Film Co-op/NJMAC, 
Rutgers Univ. Program in Cinema Studies, 131 George St. 
(108 Ruth Adams Bldg./Douglass), New Brunswick, NJ 



50 THE INDEPENDENT March 2001 



$2,000. Formats: 35mm, 16mm, 3/4", 1/2". Preview on 
VHS. Entry fees: $25 (features, over 60 min.); $10 (shorts, 
under 60 min.). Contact: Outfest, 1125 McCadden PI., Ste. 
235, Los Angeles, CA 90038; (323) 960-9200; fax: 960 
2397; outfest@outfest.org; www.outfest.org 

SAN FRANCISCO JEWISH FILM FESTIVAL, July 19-Aug. 
5, CA. Deadline: March 15. Estab. in 1980, noncompeti- 
tive fest showcases new independent American Jewish- 
subject cinema & diverse selection of foreign films. Fest 
presents dramatic, doc, experimental & animated shorts 
and features about Jewish history, culture & identity. 
Filmmakers need not be Jewish; films selected by sub- 
ject. 35-40 films showcased each yr. Formats: 35mm, 
16mm, Beta SP Preview on VHS. Contact: SFJFF, Janis 
Plotkin, Dir„ or Sam Ball, Assoc. Dir., 346 9th St.. San 
Francisco, CA 94103; (415) 621-0556; fax: (510) 548- 
0536; jewishfilm@aol.com; www.sfjff.org 



SAN FRANCISCO BLACK FILM FESTIVAL, June 14-17, 
CA. Deadline: March 31. Fest celebrates the cinema of 
African America & the African cultural Diaspora and 
highlights films made by & about the Black Experience. 
Filmmakers need not be of African descent & films can 
be of any genre: comedy, horror, romance, etc. Cats: 
feature, short, narrative, doc. Awards: Melvin Van 
Peebles Maverick Award to overall winner; Best Feature, 
Best Short, Best Doc, Jury Award for Best Screenplay. 
Formats: VHS, Beta, 35mm. Preview on VHS. Entry fees: 
$25 (films); $35 (screenplay). Contact: SFBFF, Box 
15490, San Francisco, CA; (877) 467-1735; fax: 775- 
1332; sfbff@hotmail.com; www.sfbff.org 

U.S. INTERNATIONAL FILM AND VIDEO FESTIVAL, June 
7-8, IL. Deadline: March 21. Founded in 1968, this is the 
world's leading competition devoted exclusively to busi- 
ness, TV, doc, industrial, informational productions. 
Entries are grouped w/in 71 categories or 11 production 
techniques where they are judged in a two-tiered system. 
Productions must have been completed during the 18 
months preceding the deadline. Awards: the int'ly known 
Gold Camera Award & Silver Screen Award plaques for 
top productions, certificates & special industry-spon- 
sored awards. Preview on VHS. Entry fees: $150-$215. 
Contact: UIFVF, 841 N. Addison Ave., Elmhurst, IL 60126; 
(630) 834-7773; 834-5565; filmfestinfo® film- 
festawards.com; www.filmfestawards.com 

VIDEOGRAPHER AWARDS, TX. Deadline: March 17. 
Event is an awards program to honor talented individu- 
als & companies in the video production industry. 
Awards given for video production & special events 
video. Cats incl. educational, student, special events & 
legal. Formats: VHS, S-VHS, Betacam, Betacam SP, CD- 
ROM (PC), DVD. Entry fee: $37.50. Entry forms avail, on 
web site. Contact: VA, 2214 Michigan, Ste. E, Arlington, 
TX 76013; (817) 459-0448; fax: 795-4949; info@ 
videoawards.com; www.videoawards.com 

Foreign 

ACAPULCO BLACK FILM FESTIVAL, June 4-9, Mexico. 
Deadlines: March 2 (features); April 2 (shorts). Fest is a 
celebration of the cinematic work of Black filmmakers & 
artists, showcasing independent Black cinema from 
around the world. Fest's retreat-like atmosphere pro- 
vides an intellectually charged environment to support 
independent filmmaking & to facilitate networking 
among Black film professionals. Fest offers an Actor's 
bootcamp, panels, live entertainment & more. Cats: fea- 
ture, short, works-in-progress. Formats: 35mm, Beta. 
Preview on VHS (two copies req. of each submission). 
Contact: ABFF, 100 Ave. of the Americas, 17th fl., New 
York, NY 10013; (212) 219-7267; 925-3426; 
abff@uniworldgroup.com; www.abff.com 

ALGARVE INTERNATIONAL FILM FESTIVAL, May 21-26. 
Portugal. Deadline: April 15. Competitive, shorts-only 
fest seeks works under 30 min. Cats: doc, animation, fic- 
tion. Awards: prizes totaling $20,000. Formats: 35mm 
only. Preview on VHS. No entry fee. Contact: AIFF, Carlos 
Manuel, General Dir., Box 8091, Lisbon Codex, Portugal; 
Oil 351 21 851 36 15; fax: 351 21 852 11 50; algarve 
filmfest@mail.telpac.pt; wwwalgarvefilmfest.com 

FUKOUKA ASIAN FILM FESTIVAL, July, Japan. Deadline: 
March 31. Competitive fest accepts feature films made 



CALL FOR ENTRIES 

6TH ANNUAL STONY BROOK FILM FESTIVAL 

July 18-28,2001 

Staller Center for the Arts 

State University at Stony Brook, Long Island, NY 



Competitions in 1 6mm and 35mm films 
including features, shorts, documentary 
and animation. Largest venue (1 ,000+ seats) 
and film screen in the region (40 ft. wide)! 
Over 1 2,000 attendees at the 2000 Festival! 



2000 Stony Brook Film Festival 
Filmaker Reception - July 22, 2000. 
Left to right: Village Voice Critic, 
Michael Atkinson; Newsday Chief 
Film Critic, John Anderson; 
"Steal This Movie" director, 
Robert Greenwald; 
Festival Director, Alan Inkles. 





For more information, call 631-632-7233 

or email festival@stallercenter.com 

Entry forms are available online at 

stallercenter.com/festival 

or write to: 

Stony Brook Film Festival 

Staller Center for the Arts 

rm 2032, SUNY Stony Brook 

Stony Brook, NY 1 1 794-5425 

Entry Deadline: April 1, 2001 



2000 Stony Brook Film Festival 
Opening Night 



,1 SB 




2001 Stony Brook 

Film Festival 

July 18-28 
// II w 




2000 premieres, below from left to right: "Steal This Movie," "Wildflowers," "Last Request," "Playing Mona Lisa, 



- 



i w 




"...In the movie-crazed town of Stony Brook on the campus of the State University of New York, they're taking a 
revolutionary tack: something for everybody. Studio Blockbusters. Independents. Short films, it's visionary. 



It's groundbreaking. It's cutting-edge. It's nostalgic. 



- John Anderson, Newsday 



CHICAGO (IMDEBCBulWD 



&is# S^l^/ \S>S^ 



CALL FOR ENTRIES, 2001! 



RES AND FORMATS ELIGIBLE ph.7, 
AOLINE: APRIL 7TH, 2001 SSSJJ 
I DEADLINE: MAY 15TH, 2001 1info@cuflorg 



Long Island 
International 
Film Expo 2001 

Seeks Submissions for July 13-19 Film Festival 




Short and Feature Length Films, all genres considered. 

If accepted, ability to screen in 16mm, 35mm and VHS Video. 

Cut off date May 14. 

* GALA AWARDS CEREMONY August 22 * 

For application, please email debfilm@aol.com, 
call 516-571-3168 

or visit our websites: www.LonglslandFilm.com and 
www.Co.Nassau.NY.US/film/form2001.html 

The Long Island International Film Expo is under the auspices of 

the Long Island Film &TV Foundation and 

the Nassau County Film Commission 



by Asian or Asian American directors &/or featuring 
Asian subject matter. Cats: feature, short, doc, anima- 
tion. Awards: non-cash prizes. Formats: 16mm, 35mm. 
Preview on VHS. No entry fee. Contact: FAFF, Shu Maeda, 
Hirako bldg., 4th fl., 2-4-31, Diamyo, Fukukoa. Japan 
810-0041; Oil 81 92 733-0949; fax: 81 92 733-0948; 
faff@gol.com; www2.gol.com/users/faff/english.html 

SPLICE THIS!, June 23-25, Canada. Deadline: March 31. 
Non-competitive fest dedicated to the exhibition of small 
gauge films, showcasing a wide range of work by first- 
time filmmakers and seasoned super-eighters. All entries 
must be shot predominantly on super 8. Formats: super 
8, silent super 8, super 8 w/ live accompaniment, super 
8 w/ sound, super8 w/ audiocassette. Preview on VHS. 
Entry fee: $5. Contact: ST!, 423 Shaw St., Toronto, 
Ontario M6J2X4; (416) 537-2256; coldsore® 
interlog.com; www.interlog.com/~coldsore/ 

ST. PETERSBURG "MESSAGE TO MAN" FESTIVAL, June 
15-22, Russia. Deadline: April 15. Fest is a unique 
opportunity for communication between filmmakers from 
different countries who develop themes of justice, good- 
will, "message to people," realizing them by the means 
of cinema. Fest accepts feature doc (up to 120 min.), 
short doc (up to 40 min.), short fiction (up to 60 min.), 
animated films (up to 60 mm.). Program incl. best debut 
(1st professional as well as student films), int'l compe- 
tition & special programs. Entries must have been com- 
pleted after Jan., 2000. Awards: Cash awards. Formats: 
35mm, 16mm. Preview on VHS. Entry fee: $35. Contact 
in U.S: Anne Borin, c/o Donnell Media Center, 10 W 53rd 
St., NY, NY 10019; (212) 586-6367; fax: 586-6391; in 
Russia: Mikhail Litviakov, 12 Karavannaya 191011, St. 
Petersburg, Russia ; Oil 7 812 235 2660, or 230 22 00; 
fax: Oil 7 812 235 3995; centaur@spb.cityline.ru 

VILA DO CONDE INTERNATIONAL SHORT FILM FESTI- 
VAL, July 6-11, Portugal. Deadline: April 20. 9th annual 
fest accepting films under 40 min. produced in 2000 or 
2001. Open to films less than 60 min. If film has dia- 
logue in languages other than English, French, Spanish 
or Portugese & it is not subtitled in any of these lan- 
guages, include translated script. Extracts of accepted 
films may be broadcast on TV channels for festival pub- 
licity. Entry form avail, on web site. Cats: short, doc, 
animation. Awards: Grand Prize in each category of a 
trophy, diploma & PTE 500.000 ($2,300); Prize of the 
Audience, trophy & PTE 300,000 ($1,500). Formats: 
16mm, 35mm. Preview on VHS. Contact: VDCISFF. 
Auditorio Municipal, Praca da Republica, 4480-715 Vila 
do Conde, Portugal; Oil 351 2 52248469 or Oil 351 2 
52248416; fax: Oil 351 2 52248416; isffviladoconde 
@mail.telepac.pt; www.curtasmetragens.pt/festival/ 

YAMAGATA INTERNATIONAL DOCUMENTARY FILM FES- 
TIVAL, Oct. 3-9. Japan Deadline: March 31. 7th biennial 
fest looking for documentary films produced w/in two 
years of festival date. 15 titles in Int'l Competition, plus 
five or six sidebar events emphasizing Asian docs & 
Asian concerns. Awards: prize money totals $45,000. 
Films must be at least 60 min. in length. Formats: film & 
video. Preview on VHS. No entry fee. Contact: YIDFF, 2-3- 
25 Hatago-machi, Yamagata-Shi 990-8540, Japan; Oil 
81 23 624 8368; fax: 81 23 624 9618; kokusai@ 
city.yamagata.yamagata.jp; www.city.yamagata.yama 
gata.jp/yidff/ 



52 THE INDEPENDENT March 2001 




april 20- 28/200 



&0H 



www.laiff.com ■ info@laiff.com "submission line 323.951.7090 



Get tickets to the 

200 1 IFP/West Los Angeles Film Festival 

early this year — reserve a Festival Pass! Call 323/937-9 1 55 



.' ■ ,:.: , . ■■•■■■ 



Individual tickets will be available beginning March 22nd. 
Visit the web site: www.lafilmfest.com 



t ifp/west 

The IFP/West Los Angeles Independent Film Festival, now entering its seventh year, showcases North American 
feature-length and short films in the center of LA's filmmaking community. 



Q 






notices of relevance to aivf members are listed 
free of charge as space permits. the 
independent reserves the right to edit for 
length and makes no guarantees about repeti- 
tions of a given notice. limit submissions to 60 
words & indicate how long info will be current, 
deadline: 1st of the month, two months prior to 
cover date (e.g., april 1 for june issue). complete 
contact info (name, address & phone) must 
accompany all notices. send to: independent 
notices, five 304 hudson st., 6th fl, ny, ny 10013. 
we try to be as current as possible, but double- 
check before submitting tapes or applications. 

Competitions 

arizona film commission's film in arizona 

SCREENWRITING COMPETITION: To promote screen- 
plays set in Arizona to Hollywood creative community. 
Nat'l competition for original feature-length screenplays 
(90 min.. 130 max. pgs). 85% of screenplay's locations 
must be authentic Arizona. Industry standard format 
req'd. Entered screenplays may not have been previous- 
ly optioned, sold or produced. Other rules apply. Rules & 
applications available early March via web site, email or 
phone. Awards: $1,000 Cox Communications Award, 
industry meetings, professional script notes & other 
donated prizes. Entry fee: $15. Deadline: May 15. Wendy 
Carroll, Special Projects Coordinator, "Film In Arizona" 
Screenwriting Competition, 3800 N. Central Ave., Bldg. D, 
Phoenix, AZ 85012; (602) 280-1380; fax: 280-1384; 
film@azcommerce.com; www.azcommerce.com 

AUSTIN FILM FESTIVAL PRIME TIME COMPETITION: 

Call for entries. Two cats: sitcom & drama (based on a 
pre-existing show). Awards: $1,500 for each category 
winner. Airfare compensation up to $500, hotel compen- 
sation up to $500, VIP pass to Heart of Film 
Screenwriters Conference (October 11-18) & the AFF 
bronze typewriter award for each category winner. Entry 
fee: $25. Deadline: March 15. Contact: (512) 478-4795. 

CALL FOR ENTRIES: Flickapalooza has announced a call 
for entries for the Flickapalooza Film Festival, held in Los 
Angeles from June 10-14. Feature and short films from 
all genres, shot on 35mm, 16mm, digital and video, 
accepted for submission until April 2. Festival designed 
to showcase emerging talent by presenting films that 
have not screened elsewhere. To date: Sponsored by 
Creative Planet, iFilm, LA411, Filmport, Laemmle's 
Theatres, International Film Festival Magazine, 
International Documentary Association, IAM.com and 
Reelmind.com. Contact: www.flickapalooza.com 

DOCTOBER qualifies feature & short length films for 
Academy Award consideration. All films entered into 
IDA Awards competition considered for invitation to 
DOCtober, as long as they meet following minimum 
requirements: screening format must exist on film 
(16mm or 35mm) ; no broadcast, or other television air- 
ing anytime prior to, nor within 6 months following first 
day of festival; only individual doc films eligible. Early 
bird deadline w/ discount: April 13. Final deadline: May 
18. Festival programmers will invite selected films that 
meet these requirements by August 15. A co-op fee 
may apply for festival screening. For further info 
regarding DOCtober, contact: Melissa Simon Disharoon, 
Programs & Festival Administrator at (213) 534-3600 



or download DOCtober/IDA Awards entry form www.doc 
umentary.org 

FLICKS ON 66 "WILD WEST DIGITAL SHOOTOUT:" Ten- 
Minute Scripts. Accepting 12-page scripts for production 
in the Flicks on 66 festival. Ten finalists come to 
Albuquerque, during week of July 13-21 to shoot, edit & 
screen their movie while competing for Palm de Grease. 
Award: digital video camera & editing equip. Deadline: 
postmarked April 1. Entry fee: $35. Appl. info: Flicks on 
66, Box 7038, Albuquerque, NM 87194; fax: (888) 837- 
9289; info@flickson66.com; www.FLICKSon66.com 

HOLLYWOOD "FINAL CUT" SCRENPLAY COMPETITION 

is looking for quality scripts from around the world. 
Character-driven, feature-length, standard format 
scripts accepted. First place: $1,000 & a scene shot w/ 
professional actors & crew. Deadline: Aug. 1. Entry fee: 
$45. For rules & submission info, contact: GLAdams 
Enterprises, 1626 N. Wilcox Ave, #382, Hollywood, CA 
90028; www.finalcutcontest.com 

HOLLYWOOD'S SYNOPSIS WRITING CONTEST: To give 
experience, feedback & direction as to whether your cur- 
rent synopsis writing would make an agent, producer, or 
development company sit up & take notice. May enter 1- 
page synopsis of screenplay you've already written, or 
screenplay you intend to write. Judges evaluate synopses 
on originality, marketability & cleverness. Each contestant 
receives personalized commentary on merits of each syn- 
opsis entered. Winner receives free copy of Final Draft, 
plus free Script Detail of screenplay of your choice. 
Deadline: last day of every month. Only on-line entries 
accepted; info@thesource.com.au; www.thesource. 
com.au/hollywood/entry-form.html 

LAUGHING HORSE PRODUCTIONS announces 3rd 
Annual Screenplay Contest. Seeking compelling scripts 
of every genre — scripts yet to receive attention they 
deserve. Scripts must be in standard screenplay format 
& have copyright or be registered w/the WGA. Entry & 
release form must be sent w/ each screenplay. Entry fee: 
$45. Deadline.- April 30. Prizes: 1st, Bert Remsen 
Memorial Scholarship of $1000 & performed readings in 
Los Angeles & Seattle; 2nd: Bert Remsen Memorial 
Scholarship of $500. For more info, release form, or 
application, visit: www.geocities.com/lhprods 

MAUI WRITERS CONFERENCE SCREENWRITING COM- 
PETITION: To highlight quality screenplays that may not 
otherwise get discovered. All judges are Hollywood pro- 
fessionals. Top tier judging is done by representatives of 
some of the top studios, production companies, agencies, 
networks & management companies. Contest is open to 
any feature film screenplay that hasn't yet been optioned, 
sold or produced, is properly bound, and correctly format- 
ted. Awards: 1st, $2500; 2nd, $1000; 3rd, $500. Plus, 
each prize also comes with a fully paid admission to the 
2001 Maui Writers Conference. Entry fee: $50. Deadline: 
June 1. Please visit our website for further details, mauis- 
cript@aol.com; www.mauiwriters.com 

NATIONAL SCREENWRITING COMPETITION: To find the 
best scripts & to reward screenwriters for outstanding 
writing. All scripts entered in competition will be evalu- 
ated based upon concept, structure, character, cinemat- 
ic quality & superior writing. In the initial round of com- 
petition, each script will be read & rated by one reader. 
Scripts that qualify based upon the above criteria will be 



read by the entire panel. All winning entries will be con- 
sidered for their possible production or development as 
feature films. Entry fee: $45. Awards: 1st, $2,500; 2nd, 
$500; 3rd, $250. Deadline: May 31. Seamus OTionn- 
ghusa, Director, National Screenwriting Competition, 755 
Highway 34, Matawan, NJ 07747; (732) 583-2138, fax: 
566-7336; director@skyweb.net; www.national screen- 
writing.com 

NEW ENGLAND SCREENWRITERS CONFERENCE seeks 

feature-length, English language, original, un-optioned 
screenplays for its third annual competition. Finalists 
invited to NESC, receive industry introduction & $5,000 
in cash prizes. Deadline: July 8. Send s.a.s.e. to: Tom 
Dooley, Screenwriting Competition Director, Providence 
Film Foundation, Box 6705, Providence, Rl 02940; (401) 
751-9300; www.NEScreenwriters.com 

OHIO INDEPENDENT SCREENPLAY AWARDS: Call for 

entries for Best Screenplay Award & Best Northcoast 
Screenplay Awards. All genres accepted. Prizes incl. 
$1,000, screenplay reading at Ohio Independent Film 
Festival in Nov., submission to LA literary agent, screen- 
writing software & industry script analysis. Early entry 
fee (postmarked by May 15): $40 per screenplay; late 
entry fee (postmarked by June 1): $60 per screenplay. 
Contact: OIFF 1121 Clark Ave., Cleveland, OH 44109; 
(216) 781-1755; OhiolndieFilmFest@juno.com; www. 
ohiofilms.com 

REELSHORTS VIDEO WORKSHOP: Call for entries. If 
you're an emerging independent filmmaker/videographer 
living in British Columbia, send us samples of your work. 
Our jury will choose up to 30 emerging artists from 
throughout B.C. to work with professional mentors in five- 
day ReelShorts program at B.C. Festival of the Arts in 
Nelson, May 26 to June 3. Eligibility: B.C. emerging inde- 
pendent filmmakers/videographers 17 years of age or 
older, who have prior experience in film or video production 
& who have completed at least one short. Fee: $10. 
payable to: B.C. Festival of the Arts. Submission guide- 
lines: Please send us: Sample of your work (a short 
film/video up to 20 min. max.) on VHS tape: a cover sheet 
specifying name, address, phone number, fax number, 
email address & age; indicate your preference for drama or 
documentary; an artist's statement (approx. 250 words) 
describing your artistic vision & goals in film/video; a 
resume, including film/video experience & previous train- 
ing; s.a.s.e. for notification. Please note: videotapes will 
not be returned. Deadline: April 7. Registration fee: $125 
(upon acceptance) — includes lunches, dinners, work- 
shops, screenings, panels & admission to most test 
events. Send entries to: ReelShorts, BC Festival of the Arts. 
200-764 Yates St., Victoria, B.C. V8W 1L4; (250) 920- 
4118; fax: 356-0092; info@bcfestivalofthearts.bc.ca ; 
www.bcfestivalofthearts.bc.ca 

RHODE ISLAND INTERNATIONAL FILM FESTIVAL: 

Screenplay competition 2001. Created to recognize cre- 
ativity, innovation & art of storytelling. Scripts must not 
have been sold or optioned prior to entry. Entry fee: $30. 
Awards: Grand, $2,000 in cash & prizes plus staged 
reading of work. Deadline: April 1. Contact: Eleyne 
Austen Sharp, Screenplay Director, Rhode Island 
International Film Festival, Box 162, Newport, Rl 02840; 
(401) 861-4445; fax: 847-7590; flicksart@aol.com; 
www.film-festival.org 



54 THE INDEPENDENT March 2001 



SCRIPTAPALOOZA 3RD ANNUAL SCREENWRITING 
COMPETITION. Grand prize $25,000. Deadlines & entry 
fees: postmarked Jan. 5, $40 (early); Mar. 5, $45 (first 
deadline; April 16, $50 (late entry). Contact: 7775 
Sunset Blvd. PMB #200, Hollywood, CA 90046; (323) 
654-5809; info@scriptapalooza.com 

SLAMDANCE SCREENPLAY COMPETITION 2001. 

Screenplays must not have been previously optioned, 
purchased, or produced (see entry form for other rules). 
12 recognized. Prizes include cash, software, plus sub- 
mission to a major literary agency & major studio. Entry 
fee: $40-$50. Deadline: July 23. Contact: Larry Hansen, 
Slamdance Screenplay Competition Director, (323) 466- 
1786; fax: 466-1784; lhansen@slamdance.com; 
www.slamdance.com 

TEXAS FILM INSTITUTE SCREENPLAY COMPETITION: 

To promote, develop & seek production of new talented 
screenwriters within the studio & independent film mar- 
ket. Our sponsors expect to read solid dramatic scripts 
from winners that reflect high standards of writing for 
which we are known in the industry. Awards: Cash, pro- 
ducers one-on-one, relevant screenwriting tools. Entry 
fee: $75 (with notes); $50 (without notes). Deadline: 
March 15. Contact: Jeff Pettigrew, Creative Assistant, TFI 
2000, The Ranch of Dos Cerros, 409 Mountain Spring, 
Boerne, TX 78006; (830) 537-5906; 537-5906; 99TFI@ 
texasfilminstitute.com; www.texasfilminstitute.com 

THE ANNUAL IDA AWARDS COMPETITION: Sponsored 
by Eastman Kodak, IDA Awards recognize & honor dis- 
tinguished achievement in nonfiction film & video. 
Winners honored at 16th Annual Awards Gala on Oct. 27. 
IDA screens winning films at DocuFest on Oct. 28. Early 
bird deadline w/ discount: April 13. Final deadline: May 
18. Entry forms: International Documentary Association, 
1551 S. Robertson, Ste. 201, Los Angeles, CA 90035; 
(310) 284-8422 x. 68; idaawards@documentary.org; 
www.documentary.org 

UNIQUE TV COMPETITION: To discover fresh writing tal- 
ent for TV & cable. Email or mail s.a.s.e. for complete 
rules & entry form. Spec scripts in any genre for 30 min., 
60 min. or 2-hour pilots. Awards: Winners in two divi- 
sions each receive $500. Entry fee: $45. Deadline: June 
1. Contact: Unique Television Competition, PO. Box 
22367, Eagan, MN 55122-0367; info@uniquetelevi- 
sion.com; www.uniquetelevision.com 

Films • Tapes Wanted 

FILM STUDENTS— CALL FOR ENTRIES: Angelus 
Awards Student Film Festival accepting submissions 
through July 1. Cash prizes, gifts, Directors Guild screen- 
ings. Contact: (800) 874-9999; www.angelus.org 

INDUSTRIAL TV: cutting-edge cable access show looking 
for experimental, narrative, humorous, dramatic, erotic, 
subversive, animation & underground works for inclusion 
in fall season. Controversial, uncensored & subversive 
material encouraged. Guaranteed exposure in NYC area. 
Contact: Edmund Varuolo, c/o 2droogies productions, 
Box 020206, Staten Island, NY 10302; www. 
2droogies.com 

INTERNATIONAL EXPOSURE FOR SHORT FILMS. The 

Film Channel at lndieplanet.com is seeking short films to 
be aired on web site, will be showing new shorts each 



week, giving filmmakers opportunity to get work shown. 
Contact: Matt (212) 691-0995; matthew@indieplanet. 
com 

LOUISIANA VIDEO SHORTS FESTIVAL: Aug. 31 
Deadlines: April 9 (early); April 23 (final). Fest open to 
all Lousiana residents. Entries can be just about any- 
thing your heart desires — experimental, animation, 
music video, drama, documentary, public service 
announcement, whatever. Entries must be 9 min. or 
less, produced in film, video, or computer animation for- 
mat but must be submitted on BetaSR 3/4", S-VHS, VHS 
or Hi8/8mm videotape. There is also a youth category for 
high school age entrants between the ages of 13 and 18. 
NOVAC, 4840 Banks Street, New Orleans, LA 70119; 
(504) 486-9192; fax: 486-9229; novac@neosoft.com; 
NOVACVideo@aol.com; www.gnofn.org/~novac 

MICROCINEMA, INC./BLACKCHAIR PRODUCTIONS 

accepting short video, film & digital media submissions 
of 30 min. or less on ongoing basis for monthly screen- 
ing program Independent Exposure. Artists will be paid 
an honorarium & will qualify for non-exclusive distribu- 
tion deal, including additional license fees for int'l offline 
& online sales. Looking for short experimental, narrative, 
alternative, avant-garde, humorous, dramatic, erotic, 
subversive, animation & underground works. Works 
selected will, in most cases, continue on to nat'l and 
int'l venues for additional 
screenings & may qualify 
for our DVD/VHS home 
video compilations as well 
asnetcastingvia microcin- 
ema.com. Submit VHS or 
S-VHS (NTSC preferred) 
clearly labeled with name, 
title, length, phone number 
& any support materials 
incl. photos to: 
Microcinema, Inc.. 2318 
Second Ave., PMB 313-A, 
Seattle, WA 98121. 
Info/details: (206) 568- 
6051; info@microcine 
ma.com; www.microcine 
ma.com 



flicks for March & animation for April. Film (submitted 
on VHS) & script submissions must incl. synopsis, bio & 
$10 (check/m.o.). Films screened monthly & scripts 
staged quarterly. Contact: (718) 670-3616; www.igh 
multimedia.com 

SOUTHWEST ALTERNATIVE MEDIA PROJECT (SWAMP) 

looking for possible inclusion in 25th season of The 
Territory, the longest-running PBS showcase of indepen- 
dent film/video in country. Recent works under 30 min. 
in all genres that are avail, for non-exclusive, statewide 
(Texas) broadcast btwn. Oct. 2000-Sept. 2001. Send 
VHS (NTSC) copy of work, brief synopsis & filmmaker bio 
to: SWAMP, 1519 W Main, Houston, TX 77006; (713) 
522-8592; swamp@swamp.org; www.swamp.org 

THIRD WORLD NEWSREEL, one of the oldest alternative 
media organizations in U.S., seeking film & video sub- 
missions of short & feature length docs, narratives, 
experimental & other works attentive to intersections of 
race, class & gender. Projects that address other issues 
of political & social interest also welcome. Formats: 1/2" 
VHS tapes. Send submissions, synopsis of the film & 
director's bio to: Third World Newsreel. Attn: Noel Shaw. 
545 Eighth Ave., New York, NY 10018; (212) 947-9277; 
fax: 594-6417; twn@twn.org; www.twn.org 

WIGGED.NET, a bimonthly webzine, is seeking innova- 
tive & experimental new media works as well as anima- 



MEDIA GRANTS IN NEW YORK STATE 

The Experimental Television Center provides support to artists working 
in electronic media and film in New York State. Since 1989 the center has awarded 
nearly $600,000 to various media organizations and artists. It offers three funds: 
Finishing Funds provides up to $15,000 to individual artists with work currently in 
progress; Presentation Funds are presented to nonprofit organizations in New York 
state; and The Media Arts Technical Assistance 
Fund is intended to help nonprofit media arts 
programs in New York state stabilize, strength- 
en or restructure their media arts organization- 
al capacity, services and activities. The program 
aims to encourage events that create an 
increasing understanding and appreciation of 
independent media work in all areas of the 
state. See Listing. 



I supported Amy Jenkins' 
Shelter for Daydreaming, a 
two-channel video installation. 




MY NAME IS CONSTANT; I 

am a video artist, musician, poet. Since 1997 I have 
been producing a weekly conceptual video art program 
on Time Warner (public access TV) in Manhattan & 
Brooklyn, entitled Snacontt Arts. I am looking for work 
from different artists to show on the program. Contact: 
Box 050050, Brooklyn, NY 11205; snacontt@aol.com 

QUEER PUBLIC ACCESS TV PRODUCERS seek public 
access show tapes by/for/about gay, lesbian, bi, drag, 
trans subjects, for inclusion in academic press book on 
queer community programming. All program genres wel- 
come. Incl. info about your program's history & distribu- 
tion. Send VHS tapes to: Eric Freedman, Asst. Professor, 
Comm. Dept., Florida Atlantic Univ.. 777 Glades Rd., Boca 
Raton, FL 33431; (561) 297-2534; efreedma@fau.edu 

REEL ALTERNATIVE FILM SALON, Brooklyn's original 
microcinema featuring indie filmmakers of color, seeks 
film & script submissions for second season. All genres 
& formats welcome. Special interest in female action 



tion & videos made 

for web. Deadline: 

ongoing. For details 

visit 'submit media' page at www.wigged.net. Contact: 

Seth Thompson, (330) 375-0927; 

seththompson@wigged.net 

WYBE-TV PHILADELPHIA STORIES: Looking for entries 
that tell a story as unique as city itself. Series will 
acquire programs already produced, providing finishing 
funds to projects & actually funding a few key original 
programs. Call for entries avail. Feb. 25. Deadline: May 
15. Download call-for-entries at: www.wybe.org 

ZDTV 2ND ANNUAL CAM FILM FESTIVAL: This unique 
film festival allows people to submit their own short 
homemade digital movies using personal equipment 
such as video cameras or small digital web cameras 
known as netcams. Anyone can participate & may sub- 
mit their work at www.zdW.com/camfest. Cats: humor. 



March 2001 THE INDEPENDENT 55 



G^iii) 



special effects, fiction, doc, ZDTV network promotions & 
a college cinema cat. Deadline: March 31. 

Publications 

FELIX, A journal of media arts & communication. Get the 
new issue "Voyeurism," edited by Kathy High & Maria 
Venuto w/ guest editors Nayan Shah, Lisa Steele & Kim 
Tomczak, explores complex nature of topics of 
voyeurism, & the pleasures & risks of watching. Cover 
price only $15. Felix is published by The Standby 
Program, Inc. Order by phone: (212) 219-0951. For more 
info & back issues: www.standby.org 

INDEPENDENT PRESS ASSOCIATION: Find an indepen- 
dent audience! The IPA's new directory to independent 
magazine world can give you the name & number of the 
editor you need. For just $24.95 (plus $3.05 S&H) 
Annotations.- A Guide to the Independent Press can 
open up a world of diverse & exciting contacts. For order 
send check to: IPA, 2390 Mission St., #201, San 
Francisco, CA 94110; (415) 634-4401; www.indy- 
press.org 

INTERNATIONAL FILM FINANCING CONFERENCE (IFF- 
CON 2000) transcripts of 7th conf. avail. IFFCON is North 
America's premier financing event for independent film. 
Topics discussed by int'l financiers, commissioning edi- 
tors & producers incl. "Pitch Perfect: How to Sell Your 
Idea" & "Financing w/ Int'l TV." Send $46 to: IFFCON, 
360 Ritch St., San Francisco, CA 94107; (415) 281- 
9777; www.iffcon.com 

THE JOURNAL OF FILM & VIDEO seeks written reviews 
of University Film & Video Association member films for 
possible inclusion in journal. Send approx. 5 double- 
spaced pages to: Temple University, Dept. of Film & 
Media Arts, 14E Annenberg Hall, Philadelphia, PA 19122; 
(215) 204-8472; lerickson3@aol.com 



Resources • Funds 

8xlOGLOSSY.COM: On-line artists' co-op offers free list- 
ing for all actors, technicians & organizations in direct- 
ory & searchable database, free email address (can even 
be forwarded by fax or letter), free use of bulletin board, 
s.a.s.e. to Jim Lawter, 37 Greenwich Ave, #1-6, 
Stamford, CT 06902; www.8xl0glossy.com 

911 MEDIA ARTS CENTER offers two Artist in Residence 

grants of cash, production services, and supplies to 
emerging or established artists working with new media 
as an art form. The residency allows artists 3 months 
equipment & facility access at 911, followed by a public 
exhibition of their work in a gallery or screening venue. 
No housing assistance, i.e. artists should live near 
Seattle. AIR program is project-based & supports new 
media installation artists, digital/web artists, and innov- 
ative documentary & narrative filmmakers working in 
digital formats. On-site facilities incl. Final Cut Pro edit- 
ing suite; Avid Media Composer 8000 (on-line); Pro Tools 
suite; digital video camera & light kit; digital video pro- 
jectors & hands-on animation studio. See 
www.911media.org/projects/residence or for printed 
guidelines send s.a.s.e. to; 911 Media Arts, Artist in 
Residence, 1 17 Yale Ave N, Seattle, WA 98109. Deadline: j 
March 30. 



ALLIANCE OF CANADIAN CINEMA TELEVISION AND 
RADIO ARTISTS (ACTRA) announces new, innovative 
program that supports low-budget filmmaking. Aims to 
increase volume of Canadian-made films. ACTRA repre- 
sents over 16,000 film, TV and commercial performers 
across Canada and wishes to bring these performers to 
independent film. Contact: Alex Gill, Communications 
Director, (416) 928-2278 x. 208; or John Wright, Angus 
Reid Group, (416) 324-2900. 

BAVC announces Artist Equipment Access Awards call 
for entries, in postproduction grants for innovative video 
or new media projects. Every year, BAVC awards multi- 
ple grants of $1,500 worth of access to BAVC's postpro- 
duction facility. BAVC takes special interest in video 
artists working on projects in association with commu- 
nity groups or about community issues. Deadline: May. 
1. Contact: Natasha Perlis, (415) 558-2119; 
www.bavc.org 

BAVC JOB RESOURCE CENTER: Funded by San 
Francisco Mayor's Office of Community Development, 
the Bay Area Video Coalition Job Resource Center pro- 
vides S.F. residents w/ free access to info & resources 
pertaining to video & new media industries. Internet 
access avail, for on-line job searches, as well as 
industry publications, career development books & 
job/internship listings. Open Mon.-Fri. 12-5 p.m. 
Contact: BAVC, 2727 Mariposa St., 2nd fl„ San 
Francisco, CA 94110; (415) 861-3282; bavc@ 
bavc.org; www.bavc.org 

CA CCH MEDIA PROGRAM PLANNING GRANTS pro- 
vides up to $750 to support development of major grant 
proposal & to pay for background research, consulta- 
tions w/ humanities scholars & community reps, travel 
& similar activities necessary to develop proposal. 
Before applying, consult w/ CA Council for Humanities 
staff. Deadline: Aug. 1. Contact: CCH, 312 Sutter St.. 
Ste. 601, San Francisco, CA 94108; www.calhum.org 

CITIZEN CINEMA, INC.: 501(c)3, nonprofit arts educa- 
tion organization dedicated to promoting art of filmmak- 
ing, is planning to establish filmmaking workshops in 
high schools & looking for donations of used 16mm 
cameras, sound, lighting & editing equipment, computer 
notebooks & screenwriting software in good working 
order. Donations of equipment are gratefully accepted & 
tax deductible. Contact: Dan Blanchfield, Exec. Director, 
(201) 444-9875. 

COMPOSER CONTACT ON-LINE CATALOGUE: Harvest- 
works Digital Media Center presents interactive data- 
base to learn more about composers who can be com- 
missioned to write & record compositions for various 
projects. MP3 samples & biographical info can be 
accessed. Contact: harvestw@dti.net; www.harvest 
works.org 

EASTMAN SCHOLARS PROGRAM: Colleges & Univs. in 
U.S. & Canada which offer a BA/BS/BFA, MA/MFA in film 
or film production may nominate two students for 
$5,000 scholarships. Deadline: June 15. For nomination 
form, write to: Int'l Doc. Association, 1551 S. Robertson 
Blvd., Ste. 201, Los Angeles, CA 90035. 

FREE SOUNDTRACK SONGS if you credit song in your 
film credits. Professionally produced & mastered CD 
with 22 punk, rock, alternative, dance, love songs. Call 



John at Road Rash Music (ASCAP publisher), (703) 481- 
9113. 

FUND FOR JEWISH DOCUMENTARY FILMMAKING 

offers grants up to $50,000 for production/completion of 
original films & videos that interpret Jewish history, cul- 
ture & identity to diverse public audiences. Applicants 
must be U.S. citizens or permanent residents. Priority 
given to works-in-progress that address critical issues, 
combine artistry & intellectual clarity, can be completed 
within 1 year of award & have broadcast potential. 
Deadline: April 5. Contact: Nat'l Foundation for Jewish 
Culture, 330 7th Ave., 12th fl., NY, NY 10001; (212) 629- 
0500 x. 205; www.jewishculture.org 

GRANTS-IN-AID avail, to qualified candidate to attend 
47th Robert Flaherty Film Seminar in upstate New York 
from June 15-22. Awards range from $200-$400 
towards registration fee of $700 (transportation not 
incl.). Deadline: April 17. For more info & appl. contact 
L Somi Roy, Exec. Dir. Int'l Film Seminars, Inc., 198 
Broadway, Rm. 1206, NY, NY 10038; (212) 608-3224; 
fax: 608-3242; ifs@flahertysemmar.org; www.flaherty 
seminar.org 

LlnCS 2001 (Local Independents Collaborating w/ 
Stations), a funding initiative of The Independent 
Television Service (ITVS), provides incentive or matching 
moneys ($10,000-$75.000) for partnerships between 
public television stations. & independent producers. 
Single shows & interstitial pkgs will be considered, as 
will projects in any genre or stage of development. 
Programs should stimulate civic discourse & break tra- 
ditional molds of exploring complex cultural, political, 
social or economic issues. Indie film & videomakers are 
encouraged to seek partnerships w/ their local public 
television stations. Deadline: April 30. Download appl. & 
guidelines at www.itvs.org; Heidi_Schuster@itvs.org; 
(415) 356-8383 x. 230. 

MEDIA GRANTS AVAILABLE TO INDIVIDUALS & ORGA- 
NIZATIONS IN NEW YORK STATE: The Experimental 
Television Center provides support to electronic media & 
film artists & organizations in New York state. We provide 
finishing funds of up to $1,500. All cats. Applicants must 
be residents of New York state. Deadline: March 15. We 
provide presentation funds to nonprofit organizations in 
New York. Deadline: ongoing. The Media Arts Technical 
Assistance Fund is designed to help non profit media 
arts programs in New York State. Up to $2,000 per pro- 
ject. Organizations must be receiving support from New 
York State Council of the Arts Electronic Media & Film 
Program. Deadlines: April 1, July 1 & Oct. 1. For all funds 
contact: Sherry Miller Hocking, Experimental Television 
Center, 109 Lower Fairfield Rd., Newark Valley, NY 
13811; (607) 687-4341; etc@experimentaltvcenter. 
org; www.experimentaltvcenter.org 

NATIONAL ENDOWMENT FOR THE HUMANTIES: 

Summer seminars & institutes tor college & university 
teachers. Seminars incl. 15 participants working in col- 
laboration w/ 1 or 2 leading scholars. Institutes provide 
intensive collaborative study of texts, historical periods 
& ideas to undergrad teaching in the humanities. 
Detailed info & appl. materials are avail, from project 
directors. Contact: (202) 606-8463; sem-inst@neh. 
gov; www.neh.gov 

NEW DAY FILMS: premier distribution cooperative for 



56 THE INDEPENDENT March 2001 



1 



THE ASSOCIATION OF I 
VIDEO AND FILM] 



About AIVF and FIVF 

Offering support for individuals and 
advocacy for the media arts field 
The Association of Independent Video 
and Filmmakers (AIVF) is a national 
membership organization of over 
5,000 diverse, committed opinionated 
and fiercely independent film- and 
videomakers. ATVF partners with the 
Foundation for Independent Video 
and Film (FIVF), a 501(c)(3) nonprofit 
offering a broad slate of education 
and information programs. 

To succeed as an independent you 
need a wealth of resources, strong 
connections, and the best information 
available. Whether through the pages 
of our magazine, The Independent 
Film & Video Monthly, our expanded 
website, or through the organization 
raising its collective voice to 
advocate for important issues, AIVF 
preserves your independence while 
reminding you you're not alone. 

Here's what AIVF 
membership offers: 

^jJiJbP^jJlI^jjJ 

J J FILM & VIDEO MONTHLY 

"We Love This Magazine!!" 
-UTNE Reader- 
Membership provides you with a 
year's subscription to The Independent 
Thought-provoking features, profiles, 
news, and regular columns on 
business, technical and legal matters. 
Plus the field's best source of 
festival listings, funding deadlines, 



exhibition venues, and announcements 
of member activities and services. 
Special issues highlight subjects 
including experimental media, new 
technologies, regional activity, and 
non-fiction work. Business and non- 
profit members receive discounts on 
advertising as well as special 
mention in each issue. 

INFORMATION 

FIVF publishes a series of practical 
resource books on international 
festivals, distribution, and exhibition 
venues, offered at discount prices to 
members (see the other part of this 
insert for a list). 

Our New York City Filmmaker 
Resource Library houses up-to-date 
information on everything from job 
listings to sample contracts, tailored 
to the needs of the independent 
producer. We also provide referrals, 
answering hundreds of calls and 
e-mails each week! 

WWW.AIVF.ORS 

Stay connected through www.aivf.org 
featuring the lowdown on ATVF 
services, resource listings and links, 
web-original articles, advocacy 
information, and discussion areas. 
Special on-line services for members 
include distributor and funder 
profiles and archives of The 
Independent - much more to come! 

INSURANCE 

Members are eligible to purchase 
group insurance plans through AIVF 
suppliers, including health insurance 
and production plans tailored to the 
needs of low-budget mediamakers. 



[DEPENDENT 
AKERS 

TRADE DISCOUNTS 

Businesses across the country offer 
AIVF members discounts on equipment 
and auto rentals, stock and expendibles, 
film processing, transfers, editing, 
shipping, and other production 
necessities. Members also receive 
discounts on purchases of the AIVF 
mailing list and classified ads in The 
Independent. 

WORKSHOPS &■ EVENTS 

Special events covering the whole 
spectrum of current issues and 
concerns affecting the field, ranging 
from business and aesthetic to 
technical and political topics. 

COMMUNITY 

AIVF Regional Salons are based in 
cities across the country. These 
member-organized member-run get- 
togethers provide a unique 
opportunity to network exhibit, and 
advocate for independent media in 
local communities. To find the salon 
nearest you, check The Independent 
or visit the Regional Salon section of 
the AIVF website. 

ADVOCACY 

Since AIVF members first gathered 
over 25 years ago, AIVF has been 
consistently outspoken in its efforts 
to preserve the resources and rights 

I of independent mediamakers, as well 
as to keep the public abreast of the 
latest issues concerning our field. 
Members receive periodic advocacy 
alerts, information on current issues 
and public policy, and the 
opportunity to add their voice to 
collective actions. 



T 



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Mail to AIVF, 304 Hudson St, 6th fl New York NY 10013; or charge by phone (212) £07-1400 x 503, by fax 
(212) 463-8519, or via our website www.aivf.org. Your first issue of The Independent will arrive in 4-6 weeks. 



social issue media, seeks energetic independent film & 
videomakers w/ challenging social issue docs for distri- 
bution to non-theatrical markets. Now accepting appl. 
for new membership. Contact: New Day Films, 22D 
Hollywood Ave., Ho-Ho-Kus, NJ 07423; (415) 332-7172; 
www.newday.com 

NEWENGLANDFILM.COM is a unique online resource 
that provides local film & video professionals w/ search- 
able industry directory, listings of local events, screen- 
ings, jobs, calls for entries & upcoming productions, in 
addition to filmmaker interviews & industry news. 
Reaching over 1 1,000 visitors each month. All articles & 
listings on sites free to read: www.nefilm.com 

NEWPROJECT.NET provides a new vehicle for producers 
in search of partnerships, financing & distribution for 
projects. Online database of presentations of projects in 
development, in production, or recently completed, 
NewProject.net is a place where professionals can "pub- 
lish" & announce their copyrighted new projects & pre- 
sent them to programming execs, distribution compa- 
nies, potential underwriters, investors & other partners. 

NEXT WAVE FILMS, funded by the Independent Film 
Channel, was established to provide finishing funds & 
other vital support to emerging filmmakers with low- 
budget, English-language features from US & abroad. 
Selected films receive assistance with postproduction, 
implementing a festival strategy & securing distribution. 
Through Agenda 2000 — Next Wave Films' production 
arm — exceptionally talented filmmakers with an estab- 
lished body of work can receive production financing and 
assistance for features shot on digital video & intended 
for theatrical release. Both fiction & non-fiction films 
considered for finishing funds & Agenda 2000. Contact: 
Next Wave Films, 2510 7th St., Ste. E, Santa Monica, CA 
90405. (310) 392-1720; fax: 399-3455; launch® 
nextwavefilms.com; www.nextwavefilms.com. 

OPPENHEIMER CAMERA: new filmmaker grant equip, 
program offers access to professional 16mm camera 
system for first serious new productions in dramatic, 
doc, experimental, or narrative form. Purely commercial 
projects not considered. Provides camera on year-round 
basis. No appl. deadline, but allow 10 week minimum for 
processing. Contact: Film Grant, Oppenheimer Camera, 
666 S. Plummer St., Seattle, WA 98134; (206) 467- 
8666; fax: 467-9165; filmgrant@oppenheimercamera. 
com 

PACIFIC ISLANDERS IN COMMUNICATIONS (PIC) 

announces Media Fund 2000 call for proposals for pro- 
grams intended for nat'l public television. Doc, perfor- 
mance, narrative, animation, children's or cultural 
affairs programming proposals eligible. PIC is particular- 
ly interested in projects that examine & illuminate the 
realities of Pacific Islander issues such as diversity, 
identity, & spirituality. Must be over 60 mm. unless part 
of a series. Awards of up to $50,000 are available for 
works-in-progress including production, postproduction, 
marketing & distribution. Research & development & 
scripting phases may receive up to $15,000. Deadline: 
Aug. 3. Contact Annie Moriyasu, Media Fund, to PIC, 
1221 Kapi'olani Boulevard, Ste. 6A-4, Honolulu, HI 
96814, (808) 591-0059; fax: 591-1114; moriyasu® 
aloha.net; www.piccom.org 

PAUL ROBESON FUND FOR INDEPENDENT MEDIA 



solicits projects addressing critical social & political 
issues w/ goal of creating social change. Funding for 
radio projects in all stages of prod.; film & video projects 
in preproduction or distribution stages only. Grants range 
from $3,000-$8,000. Deadline: May 15. Contact: Trinh 
Duong, Program Officer, The Funding Exchange, 666 
Broadway, #500, NY, NY 10012; (212) 529-5300. 

PEN WRITER'S FUND & PEN FUND for writers & editors 
w/ AIDS. Emergency funds, in form of small grants given 
each year to over 200 professional literary writers, incl. 
screenwriters, facing financial crisis. PEN'S emergency 
funds are not intended to subsidize writing projects or 
professional development. Contact: PEN American 
Center, 568 Broadway, New York, NY 10012-3225; (212) 
334-1660. 

PORTLAND, OREGON FILMMAKING GRANTS; Digital 
Media Education Center of Portland, Oregon announcing 
open call for submissions for their prestigious Avid Film 
Camp 2000 program. The 5-year-old program affords a 
boost to independent feature directors looking for means 
to complete films, while offering Avid-authorized training 
| to career editors. Film Camp films have gone on to such 
venues as Sundance, South by Southwest, & the IFP 
Market. Submissions for consideration must be feature- 
length projects w/ shooting completed. Projects are 
accepted on rolling basis. Contact: Kate Wolf at Digital 
Media Education Center, 5201 SW Westgate Dr., Ste. 
114, Portland, OR 97221; (503) 297-2324; www.film- 
camp.com 

TECHNOLOGY-RELATED FUNDING & TECHNICAL 
ASSISTANCE: New York State Council on the Arts & New 
York Foundation for the Arts announces funding for wide 
range of planning initiatives that develop new venues for 
digital art; touring projects; establish artist residencies 
in partnerships with facilities that have computer labs; 
expand training & access opportunities for artists; pro- 
grams to help arts organizations advance the use of 
technology in administration & outreach. Deadline: May 
3. Contact: NYSCA, 915 Broadway, New York, NY 10010- 
7199; (212) 387-7000; fax: 387-7164. 

U.S.-MEXICO FUND FOR CULTURE, sponsored/funded 
by Mexico's Nat'l Fund for Culture & the Arts (FONCA), 
Bancomer Cultural Foundation & the Rockefeller 
Foundation announces bi-national artist proposals. 
Deadline: April 16. Contact: Beatriz Nava, U.S.-Mexico 
Fund For Culture, Londres 16, 3rd Fl., Col. Juarez, 
06600, Mexico D.F; (525) 592-5386; fax: 566-8071; 
usmexcult@fidemexusa.org.mx; www.fideicomisom 
exusa.org.mx 

VISUAL STUDIES WORKSHOP MEDIA CENTER in 

Rochester, NY, accepts proposals on ongoing basis for its 
Upstate Media Regrant Program. Artists, ind. producers 
& nonprofits awarded access at reduced rates, prod. & 
postprod. equipment for work on noncommercial pro- 
jects. For appl., tour, or more info, call (716) 442-8676. 
Deadline: May 22. 



WORKSHOPS 

VOLUNTEER LAWYERS FOR THE ARTS offer seminars 
on "Copyright Basics," "Nonprofit Incorporation & Tax 
Exemption" & more. Reservations must be made. 
Contact: (212) 319-2910. 



Final Cut Pro 

Nonlinear Editing 

Beta SP, DV, DVCAM, 
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March 2001 THE INDEPENDENT 57 



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S) 



DEADLINE: 1ST OF EACH MONTH, 2 MONTHS PRIOR TO 
COVER DATE (E.G. APRIL 1 FOR JUNE ISSUE). CONTACT: 
FAX: (212) 463-8519; scott@aivf.org. PER ISSUE COST: 

0-240 characters (incl. spaces & punctuation) 
$45 FOR NONMEMBERS/$30 FOR AIVF MEMBERS 

241-360 CHARACTERS: 
$65 FOR N0NMEMBERS/$45 FOR AIVF MEMBERS 

361-480 CHARACTERS: 
$80 FOR NONMEMBERS/$60 FOR AIVF MEMBERS 

481-600 CHARACTERS: 
$95 FOR NONMEMBERS/$75 FOR AIVF MEMBERS 

OVER 600 CHARACTERS: 
CALL FOR QUOTE: 212-807-1400 x. 229 

Frequency discount: 

$5 off per issue for ads running 5+ times. 

ads over specified length will be edited. copy 
should be typed & accompanied by check or 
money order payable to: fivf, 304 hudson st., 
6th fl, new york, ny 10013. include billing 
address; daytime phone; # of issues; and valid 
member id# for member discount. to pay by visa 
/mc/amex incl. card #; name on card; exp date. 

Buy • Rent • Sell 

AVID OFF-LINE FOR RENT: MC 7.1, Powermac 9600, 33 
gigs memory, two 20" Mitsubishi monitors, 14" Trinitron 
monitor, 16 Ch Mackie mixer. Avid tech support. Free set 
up in NYC area. Call Howard (914) 271-4161. 

DP W/ CANON XL-1; BETA-SP DECK RENTAL avail, I 
shoot all formats: film/video. Non-linear editing w/ all 
video formats. 13 yrs exp w/ Academy Award nomina- 
tion. Affordable rates. DMP Productions (212) 307-9097; 
http://members.tripod.com/~dmpfilm 

VIDEO DECKS/EDIT SYSTEMS/CAMERAS FOR RENT: I 

deliver! Beta-SP deck (Sony UVW-1800) $150/day, 
$450/wk. Also— 1:1 Avid Suite, Final Cut, Media 100, DV 
Cams, mics, lights, etc. Production Central (212) 631- 
0435. 

Distribution 

19 YEARS AS AN INDUSTRY LEADER! Representing out- 
standing video on healthcare, mental health, disabilities 
& related issues. Our films win Oscars, Emmys, Duponts, 
Freddies & more. Join us! Fanlight Productions: (800) 
937-4113; www.fanlight.com 

AN OUTSTANDING DISTRIBUTOR seeks outstanding pro- 
ducers to join us. Seeking educational documentaries and 
training videos on disabilities, mental health, aging, stress, 
health issues. As a medium-sized distributor we give your 
video the attention it deserves. Call or email us! Our films 
win Emmys, Freddies, CINE's, Oscars, and more! Aquarius 
Health Care Videos: 888-441-2963; leslie@aquarius 
productions.com; www.aquariusproductions.com 

BUDGETS/INVESTOR PACKAGE: Experienced line produc- 
er will prepare script breakdowns, shooting schedules & 
detailed budgets. Movie Magic equipped. MC, Visa, Amex. 
Indie rates negotiable. Mark (212) 340-1243. 

BUYINDIES.COM The founders of NewEnglandFilm.com 
have created another site: Buylndies.com, a community 



to buy & sell independent films. If you have copies of 
your movie available on VHS or DVD, then you can join as 
a seller and list any or all of your titles. Buylndies.com 
handles the ecommerce. customer service and promo- 
tion; you handle the shipping. Filmmakers keep all rights 
to the film. Already over 45,000 titles have been gath- 
ered. You can find out more info at: www.buyindies.com/ 
sell/; or email: info@buyindies.com 

EDUCATIONAL DISTRIBUTOR SEEKS GUIDANCE 
VIDEOS on issues such as violence, drug prevention, 
mentoring, children's health & parenting for exclusive 
distribution. Our marketing gives unequaled results! Call 
Sally Germain at The Bureau for At-Risk Youth: (800) 99- 
YOUTH x. 210. 

LOOKING FOR AN EDUCATIONAL DISTRIBUTOR? 

Consider the University of California. We can put 80 years 
of successful marketing expertise to work for you. Kate 
Spohr: (510) 643-2788; www-cmil.unex.berkeley.edu/ 
media/ 

THE CINEMA GUILD, leading film/video/multimedia dis- 
tributor, seeks new doc, fiction, educational & animation 
programs for distribution. Send videocassettes or discs 
for evaluation to: The Cinema Guild, 130 Madison Ave., 
2nd fl., New York, NY 10016; (212) 685-6242; 
TheCmemaG@aol.com; Ask for our Distribution 
Services brochure. 

Freelance 

35MM/16MM PROD. PKG w/ DP: Complete package w/ 
DP's own Arri 35BL, 16SR, HMIs, dolly, jib crane, light- 
ing, DAT, grip, 5-ton truck. . . more. Ideal 1-source for the 
low-budget producer! Call for reel: Tom Agnello (201) 
741-4367. 

ACCLAIMED AND UNUSUAL instrumental band can pro- 
vide music for your next project. Contact "Magonia" for 
demo: (781) 932-4677; boygirl@mediaone.net; 
www.magonia.com 

ANDREW DUNN, Director of Photography/camera opera- 
tor Arn35 BL3, Aaton XTRprod S16, Sony DVCAM. 
Experience in features, docs, TV & industrials. Credits: 
Dog Run, Strays, Working Space/Working Light. (212) 
477-0172; AndrewD158@aol.com 

AWARD-WINNING EDITOR. w/Avid and Beta SP facility. 
Features, shorts, docs, music videos, educational, 
industrials, demos. Trilingual: Spanish, English, Catalan. 
Nuria Olive-Belles (212) 627-9256. 

BRENDAN C. FLYNT: Director of Photography w/ many 
feature & short film credits. Owns 35 Arri BL3, Super 
16/16 Aaton, HMIs, Tungsten & dolly w/ tracks. Awards 
at Sundance & Raindance. Call for quotes & reel at (212) 
226-8417; www.dp-brendanflynt.com 

CINEMATOGRAPHER w/ Am SR Super 16 package & 
35IIC, w/ over 15 years in the industry. Credits incl. 2nd 
unit, FX & experimental. Looking for interesting projects. 
Will travel. Theo (212) 774-4157; pager: (213) 707-6195. 

CINEMATOGRAPHER w/ reg/S-16mm Aaton, video-tap, 
lighting gear & more. Digital video too. Collaborations in 
features, shorts, docs, music videos & other compelling 
visions. Kevin Skvorak, reel & rates (718) 782-9179; 
kevskvk@inx.net 



CINEMATOGRAPHER w/ Super 16 package with video 
tap, digital, lighting; 20 yrs experience on features, 
shorts, documentaries, music videos. Italian, English, 
some Spanish; will travel. Renato Tonelli (718) 728- 
7567; rtonelli@tiscalinet.it 

COMPOSER: Experienced, award-winning Yale conser- 
vatory grad writes affordable music in any style that will 
enhance your project. Save money without compromising 
creativity. Full service digital recording studio. Free demo 
CD/initial consultation/rough sketch. Call Joseph 
Rubenstein; (212) 242-2691; joe56@earthlink.net 

COMPOSER Miriam Cutler loves to collaborate with film- 
makers — features, docs. Sundance: Licensed to Kill, 
Death: A Love Story I Peabody: The Castro I POV: Double 
Life of Ernesto Gomez Gomez & more (323) 664-1807; 
mircut2@earthlink.net 

COMPOSER: Original music for your film or video project. 
Will work with any budget. Complete digital studio. NYC 
area. Demo CD upon request. Call Ian O'Brien: (201) 
222-2638; iobrien@bellatlantic.net 

COMPOSER: Perfect music for your project. Orchestral to 
techno — you name it! Credits incl. NFL, PBS, Sundance, 
Absolut. Bach, of Music, Eastman School. Quentin 
Chiappetta (718) 752-9194; (917) 721-0058; qchiap@ 
el.net 

CREATIVE DIRECTOR OF PHOTOGRAPHY w/ lighting 
director background. Specialty films my specialty. Can 
give your film that unique "look." 16mm & 35mm pack- 
ages avail. Call Charles for reel: (212) 295-7878. 

DIGITAL VIDEO— Sony VX100 digital camera & camera- 
man, Sennheiser ME 66 shotgun mic, pro accessories. 
Experienced in dance, theater, performance art docu- 
mentation & features. Final Cut Pro digital editing with 
editor $125/day. John Newell (212) 677-6652; 
johnewell@earthlink.net 

DIGITAL VIDEO Videographer/DR with Canon XL-1 video- 
cam; prefer documentaries, shorts and less traditional 
projects; documentation for dance, music and perfor- 
mance. Alan Roth (718) 218-8065; (917) 548-4512; 
alanroth@mail.com 

DIGITAL VIDEOGRAPHER with Sony VX-1000 and 
Lectrosonic radio mic. available and happy to shoot doc- 
umentaries and shorts. Contact Melissa (212) 352- 
4141; meliss@rcn.com 

DIRECTOR OF PHOTOGRAPHY: Award-winning, exp, look- 
ing for interesting projects. Credits incl. features, docs & 
commercials in the U.S., Europe & Israel. Own complete 
Aaton Super 16 pkg & lights. Call Adam for reel. (212) 
932-8255 or (917) 504-7244; nyvardy@worldnet.att.net 

DIRECTOR OF PHOTOGRAPHY; Looking for creative pro- 
jects to lens; features, commercials, shorts, music 
videos & documentaries. 35 and 16mm packages avail. 
New York/Boston based, will travel. Call for reel: (781) 
545-2609; bkarol@mediaone.net 

DIRECTOR OF PHOTOGRAPHY looking for interesting 
features, shorts, ind. projects, etc. Credits incl. features, 
commercials, industrials, short films, music videos. 
Aaton 16/S-16 pkg avail. Abe (718) 263-0010. 

DIRECTOR OF PHOTOGRAPHY w/ Am 16 & 35BL2 cam- 
era pkgs. Credits incl. many indie features & shorts. 



58 THE INDEPENDENT March 2001 






Create "big film" look on low budget. Flexible rates & I 
work quickly. Willing to travel. Matthew: (617) 244- 
6730; (845) 439-5459; mwdp@rcn.com 

DIRECTOR OF PHOTOGRAPHY with Arri BL 3, Aaton XTR 
Prod S16/16mm, and Canon XL1 camera package is 
ready to shoot your project. Call Jay Silver at (718) 383- 
1325 tor a copy of reel, email: hihosliver@earthlink.com 

DOCUMENTARY VIDEOGRAPHER with extensive inter- 
national experience (Latin America, Africa, Europe & 
Canada). 22 years of experience as director/producer, 
videographer and editor of independent documentaries 
broadcast on CNN International, PBS, Cinemax & CBC. 
Last doc premiered at Sundance Festival. Specializes in 
cinema verite, social issue & multicultural projects. 
Robbie Leppzer, Turning Tide Productions; (800) 557- 
6414; leppzer@turningtide.com; www.turningtide.com 

DP WITH CAMERA: SR/S. 16 & High Speed S. 16. Over 
20 yrs exp. in indie, feature, commercial, doc work. 
Extensive camera pkg. For background, client list, to 
view clips/stills or order reel visit: www.kozma.com; 
(813) 835-6162; zfilm@gte.net 

DV CONSULTANT: Need help w/ Final Cut Pro? Exp. con- 
sultant avail, for training in FCP AfterEffects, Media 
Cleaner Pro, or just Mac basics. Former Apple tech rep. 
& working filmmaker in NYC. Discount for AIVF members. 
Greg (347) 731-3466. 

EDITOR WITH AVID, Beta SR DVCam, miniDV, DAT, 3/4", 
AfterEffects, Commotion, etc. Experienced with features, 
documentaries, broadcast, industrials & short form 
material; commercial to avant garde. Convenient East 
Village location with windows! $350/day, $50/hr. (212) 
228-1914; www.detournyc.com 

EDITOR WITH AVID: Conscientious advocate of the 
Invisible Cut. Comfy West Village space. AVR77, 216 
gigs, Beta, VHS, DV. MC/Visa. Bill G. (212) 243-1343; 
gcomvid@usa.net 

ENTERTAINMENT ATTORNEY: frequent contributor to 
"Legal Brief" columns in The Independent & other mag- 
azines, offers legal services to film & video community 
on projects from development thru distribution. Contact 
Robert LSeigel, Esq, (212) 333-7000. 

EXPERIENCED CINEMATOGRAPHER with crew & equip- 
ment; 16mm & 35mm. Short films & features. Vincent 
(212)779-1441. 

GRANTWRITING/FUNDRAISING: Research, writing & 
strategy (for production, distrib, exhibition, & educational 
projects of media). Successful proposals to NYSCA, NEA, 
NEH, ITVS, Soros, Rockefeller Foundation, Lila Acheson 
Wallace Foundation. Fast writers, reasonable rates. 
Wanda Bershen, (212) 598-0224; www.reddiaper.com; or 
Geri Thomas (212) 625-2011; www.artstaffing.com 

INDEPENDENT PRODUCTION COMPANY: Providing ser- 
vices for independent filmmakers, incl. all the crew & equip, 
needed. We also help you w/ locations, craft services, 
wardrobe, transportation, etc. . . Basically everything that 
goes on behind the camera. We specialize in independent 
filmmaking — features, shorts, music videos. Will consider 
any budget. Contact Vadim Epstein (917) 921-4646. 

JOHN BASKO: Documentary cameraman w/ extensive 
international Network experience. Civil wars in Kosovo, 



Beirut, El Salvador, Nicaragua, Tiananmen Square stu- 
dent uprising. Equipment maintained by Sony. (718) 
278-7869; fax-. 278-6830; Johnbasko@icnt.net 

LOCATION SOUND: Over 20 yrs sound exp. w/timecode 
Nagra & DAT, quality mics. Reduced rates for low-budget 
projects. Harvey & Fred Edwards, (518) 677-5720; 
edfilms@worldnet.att.net 

LUDGER K. BALAN-DIRECTOR OF PHOTOGRAPHY: vari- 
ous features, shorts, docs, music videos, indus. Own Am 
SRII S16/16mm pkg. Award-winning, visual story teller. 
Highly skilled tech. Reel- SAF/TLE- Ph/Fx: (718) 802-9874. 

PRODUCTION TEAM: Providing services ranging from 
budget preparation to postproduction supervision. Help 
for your feature, short, video or commercial. Reduced 
rates for low-budget projects. A.L. Films: (718) 322- 
3202; info@legitfilms.com 

Opportunites • Gigs 

HARLEM-BASED PRODUCTION COMPANY seeks interns 
and production assistants for upcoming projects. We 
produce science fiction and horror digital videos from the 
African Diaspora. Please fax/email resume to: (718) 
783-4357 or mizanmedia@mail.com 

MANHATTAN-BASED PRODUCTION COMPANY seeks 
experienced producers, associate producers & re- 
searchers for history, travel & health documentaries. 
Please fax resume to (212) 647-0940; attention: office 
coordinator. 

SHOOTINGDV.COM, a new resource for indie film and DV 
makers, is currently presenting SPY "the first indepen- 
dent digital feature produced on the Internet." Please 
contact: info@ShootingDV.com to intern or volunteer in 
administration, development, marketing, streaming 
video, or web work on this exciting new media project. 

WELL-ESTABLISHED freelance camera group in NYC 
seeking professional cameramen and soundmen w/ solid 
Betacam video experience to work w/ our wide array of 
clients. If qualified contact COA at (212) 505-1911. 
Must have video samples/reel. 

Preproduction 

PRODUCTION OFFICE: West 85th in NYC, fully wired all 
office equip, Beta, 3/4" dubbing, animation. Avid room as 
needed. Short or long-term. Dana (212) 501-7878 x. 222. 

SU-CITY PICTURES: The Screenplay Doctor, The Movie 
Mechanic: We provide screenplay/treatment/synopsis/ 
films-in-progress insight/analysis. Studio credentials 
include: Miramax & Warner Bros. Competitive rates. 
Brochure: (212) 219-9224; www.su-city-pictures.com 

POSTPROUCTION 

16MM CUTTING ROOMS: 8-plate & 6-plate fully 
equipped rooms, sound-transfer facilities, 24-hr access. 
Downtown, near all subways & Canal St. Reasonable 
rates. (212) 925-1500. 

16MM SOUND MIX only $100/hr. Interlocked 16mm pic- 
ture & tracks mixed to 16 or 35mm fullcoat. 
16mm/35mm post services: picture & sound editorial, 
ADR, interlock screening, 16mm mag xfers (.06/ft), 
16mm edgecoding (.015/ft). Call Tom (201) 741-4367. 



AVIDS TOGO 



Luna delirei'S. 




X 




free delivery and set-up in your home or office 

long term //short term rentals 
the most cost-effective way to cut your indie film 




PICTURES 



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March 2001 THE INDEPENDENT 59 



rrr, 



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$ 



ONTRA 




VIDEO 




AVIO EDIT SUITES 

OFF LINE /ON LINE/3DFX 



Grafix Suite/After Effects 
Audio Design/Mixing/Protools 
V.O. Booth/Read To Picture 



VOICE 



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nyidddi FAX 212.244.0690 




AVID EDITOR; A dozen feature credits. New Media 
Composer w/ AVR 77 & offline rez. Beta SR DAT, extra 
drives, Pro-tools editing & mixing, and your Avid or mine. 
Fast and easy to get along with. Credit cards accepted. 
Drina (212) 561-0829. 

BRODSKY & TREADWAY Film-to-tape masters. Reversal 
only. Regular 8mm, super 8, or archival 16mm. We love 
early B&W & Kodachrome. Scene-by-scene only. Correct 
frame rates. For appt. call (978) 948-7985. 

DVD AUTHORING: Full DVD project management. Spruce 
system, compression, encoding, menu creation, author- 
ing and replication for your film. We are nice people and 
we have very reasonable pricing. (212) 563-4589; 245 
W. 29 St., NY, NY 10001 

EDIT/SHOOT IN SAN DIEGO: Discreet Edit 5.0 non-linear 

system. 90 gigs memory, component Beta, DV, S-VHS. 
Betacam & DV field pkg. Sony D-30/PW3 &VX2000. Full 
audio, graphics, etc. Low rates. Call (800) 497-1109; 
www.peteroliver.com 

FINAL CUT PRO: Rent a private edit suite in financial 
district w/ 24 hr access. 12 hrs b'cast quality storage, 
Photoshop, AfterEffects. Also, rent b'cast quality DV hid- 
den camera pkg: $250/day. Jonathan, Mint Leaf Prods: 
(212) 952-0121 X. 229. 

MEDIA 100 EDITING Broadcast quality, newest soft- 
ware. Huge storage & RAM. Betacam, 3/4". all DV for- 
mats, S-VHS, Hi-8. . . Great location, friendly environ- 
ment & low rates, tech support, talented editors & fx 
artists available: (212) 868-0028. 

PRODUCER WITH PRODUCTION OFFICE looking for low 
budget features to produce in New York. Will provide 
budgeting/scheduling, production personnel. Video, 
shorts and feature experience. Call Val at (212) 295- 
7878 or zelda212@netscape.net 

PRODUCTION TRANSCRIPTS; Verbatim transcripts for 
documentaries, journalists, etc. Low prices & flat rates 
based on tape length. A standard 1 hr., 1-on-l 
interview is only $70: www.productiontranscripts.com 
for details or calh(888) 349-3022. 

PROFESSIONAL VIDEO COMPRESSION for presenting 
work over the Internet. Years of experience & clients incl. 
film festivals & independent filmmakers. Discount for 
AIVF members. Contact: compression@randomroom 
.com; www.randomroom.com/compression 

SOUND ART FILMS/TIMELINE EDITORIAL: A convenient 
one stop film/video production/postproduction boutique. 
Founded by a team of award-winning indie filmmakers. 
Award-winning cinematographer w/Arri SRII S16mm/ 
16mm. Avid Media Comp. Suite — offline, online. Light & 
DAT sound, audio/visual rentals. Web design & graphics. 
Still photography. Underwater photo/video. For DP reel & 
other info. Ph/Fx (718) 802-9874; http://home.att.net/ 
— soundart; Loc.15 min. from mid Mann, in Bklyn. 

TWO CHEAP AVIDS! Great rental prices. Media 
Composer XL1000, Chelsea location: (212) 242-3005. 
Avid 400 5.5, Beta Deck, 36GB, Upper West Side: (212) 
579-4294. 

UNCOMPRESSED AVID MEDIA COMPOSER: Fastest 
Avid on the block! A comfortable large room with all the 
amenities. Blue Ice board, After Effects, Photoshop, 
Illustrator, digital audio board, video projector, too. 
Production Central (212) 631-0435. 



60 THE INDEPENDENT March 2001 




www.aivf.org 



from the director 

SO YOU HAVE A GREAT IDEA, YOU KNOW 
what you are doing, you have access... you 
go out on a limb to make your doc, 
because you know that the things that 
fired you up in the first place will resonate 
with an audience. Maybe you dream of a 
national playdate on PBS, where a single 
prime -time screening is likely to draw 
upwards of six million viewers. 

But PTV opportunities for independents 
are slim, and it can be hard to get your foot 
in the door. It's therefore little surprise 
that AIVF's Pitch to PBS sessions, next 
occurring in May, have been among our 
most popular programs. Preparing presen- 
tations to PBS acquisition executives has 
helped hundreds of members better articu- 
late their project and goals, dozens to 
refine their approach and pitch, and two 
producers to get their shows on the air! 

We at AIVF are proud of our program, 
and excited about new PBS head Pat 
Mitchell's establishment of a new bureau 
of Program Development & Independent 
Film. We hope that it is the harbinger of a 
renewed interest by PBS in the glorious 
possibility of truly independent work. 

— Elizabeth Peters 



reachAIVF 

FILMMAKERS' RESOURCE LIBRARY 
hours: TUES.-FRI. 11-6; WED. 11-9 

The AIVF office is located at 304 Hudson St. 
(between Spring & Vandam) 6th fl., in New York 

City. Subways: 1 or 9 to Houston, C or E to 
Spring. Our Filmmakers' Resource Library hous- 
es hundreds of print and electronic 
resources — from essential directories & trade 

magazines to sample proposals & budgets. 

BY PHONE: (212)807-1400 

Recorded information available 24/7; 
operator on duty Tues.-Fri. 2-5p.m. EST 

by INTERNET: www.aivf.org; info@aivf.org 



aivf events 

UNLESS OTHERWISE NOTED, EVENTS TAKE PLACE 

AT THE AIVF OFFICE (ADDRESS IN BOX BELOW). 

RSVP REQUIRED: (212) 807-1400 x.301. 

HEALTH INSURANCE L0WD0WN 
TUES., MARCH 6, 6:30-8:30 

Meet reps from insurance agencies that 
help AIVF members obtain discounted 
rates on health insurance everyday. RBA 
Insurance Strategies, Teigit (CIGNA 
Health Plans), and Bader Associates will 
attend to present various options offered 
to individuals and answer your questions 
about how to find the plan that's right for 
you. Free to members and general public. 

AIVFATTHENYUFF 

MARCH 7-13, ANTHOLOGY FILM ARCHIVES, NYC 



KiueWfwsK Wve 



affec- 
t l o n a t e 1 y 
dubbed the 
FMMra*™M- NYUFF"some- 
where between Warhol's Factory and the 
Manson Family." And here it is, parading its 
8th Year in full regalia. Don't miss the col- 
lection that defies convention! AIVF is 
proud to co-present two panel discussions: 

Saturday, March 10, J 2-2 p.m. 

Spare Some Change? 

Navigating Grants and Funding Options 

Sunday, March 1 1, 12-2 p.m. 

Selling Your Ass to TV: 

The Skinny on Television Sales 

Events take place at Anthology Film 
Archives (32 2nd Ave) and are free to all. 
No RSVP necessary. FFI: www.aivf.org or 
www.nyuff.com. For tickets and festival 
info: (212) 252-3845. 

AIVF CO-SPONSORS: 

THE 2001 SOUTH BY SOUTHWEST 

FILM CONFERENCE & FESTIVAL 

MARCH 10-20TH, AUSTIN, TEXAS 

The SXSW Film Festival annually show- 
cases the best new discoveries in indepen 



call for poroposals 



PBS 



3RD ANNUAL 

PITCH TO PBS 
SESSIONS 

IN-0FFICE DEADLINE: 
TUESDAY, MARCH 27 



Emerging as one of AIVF's most significant oppor- 
tunities, PBS offers one-on-one meetings with 
producers. In early May, a number of pre-select- 
ed AIVF members will meet (at AIVF's NYC office) 
with members of the National PBS senior pro- 
gramming staff to pitch their projects and discuss 
possible broadcast on PBS. 

Projects must be at a rough cut or finished 
stage to be eligible. For complete submission 
details, log on to www.aivf.org or contact (212) 
807-1400 x 301 to have an application packet 
send to you by mail. 

Next Pitch opportunity: September, 2001. 



dent film. Don't miss their nine days of 
competition screenings along with a ret- 
rospective series, an off-beat midnight 
series, and spe- 
cial premieres. 



SMSUJ 



SXSWs Film Conference offers the work- 
ing independent filmmaker advice, infor- 
mation and insight into how to get a film 
made and seen. Veteran producers, up- 
and-coming directors, film critics and 
industry insiders map out the complex 
terrain of the independent film world in 
four days of discussion, discovery and 
inspiration. Look for AIVF staff on panels 
at the Conference. FFI: www.sxsw.com; 
512/467-7979. 

MEET & GREET ClNEBLAST! 
THURSDAY MARCH 15, 6:30-8:30 
cineBLAST! was established in 1996 to 
distribute video compilations of short 
films. This then-new venue for displaying 
the work of short filmmakers (all three vol- 
umes) became so successful that 
cineBLAST! rapidly emerged as one of the 



March 2001 THE INDEPENDENT 61 



industry's Top 15 Production Companies 
in New York. cineBLASTFs core strength 
is the identification and nurturing of new 
talent, often producing first films as well 
contributing to the ongoing development 
of careers. 

cineBLASTTs diverse range of material 
includes: Desert Blue, Dear Jesse, Bobby 

— MMppM G 

cineE!251 Swim - 

■■■■■ Kill 



Inches, and Spring Forward, along with 
the Greg The Bunny show on IFC. Check 
them out at: www.cineblast.com. Cost: 
free AIVF members; $10 general public. 

IN BRIEF: ADVICE FROM THE PROS 
DISSECTING THE PBS CONTRACT 

THURSDAY MARCH 22, 6:30-8:30 

Co-Sponsored by Women Make Movies 

Join the discussion on PBS contracts with 
Robert I. Freedman, a partner at Cowan 
DeBaets Abrahams and Sheppard, and 
former general counsel of WNET-TV, 
New York City's public television station. 
Since 1978 he has represented indepen- 
dent producers, whose work often airs on 
public television. He will present busi- 
ness/legal issues in negotiating contracts 
with and for public television including 
agreements for production, coproduction 
and acquisition. Issues include copyright, 
distribution rights, income and profit 
shares, clearances and union agreements. 
Cost: $20 members of AIVF & WMM; 
$30 general public. 

AIVF CO-SPONSORS: 

OPEN ZONE 4 

MONDAY, MARCH 27TH, 7:00 RM. 

Quarterly Open Screening Forum for 
NYC film- and videomakers at Galapagos 
Ar Space in Brooklyn. To attend/submit: 
www.ocularis .net; 718/388-8713. 

AIVF CO-SPONSORS: 

SELECT SCREENINGS PRESENTED BY 

THE FILM SOCIETY OF LINCOLN CENTER 

AIVF members may attend specific films 

for just $5 per ticket with card! 

FFI: (212) 875-5600orwww.filmlinc.com 

The Urban Generation: Chinese Cinema 
in Transformation: Feb. 23-March 8 

Rendezvous with French Cinema: 

March 9-18 

Ermanno Olmi Retrospective: 

March 21 -April 12 



The Foundation for Independent Video and Film (FIVF), the educational affiliate 
of th e Association for Independent Video and Filmmakers (AIVF), supports a 

variety of programs and services for the 
independent media community, including 



publication of The Independent and a series of resource publications, seminars 
and workshops, and information services. 

None of this work would be possible without the generous support of the AIVF 
membership and the following organizations: 

The Mary Duke Biddle Foundation 



W 



NYSCA 



The Chase Manhattan Foundation 

Forest Creatures Entertainment, Inc. 

The William and Flora Hewlett 
Foundation 

LEF Foundation 

Albert A. List Foundation, Inc. 



The John D. and Catherine T. 
MacArthur Foundation 

The National Endowment for the Arts 

New York City Department of Cultural 
Affairs: Cultural Challenge Program 

New York Foundation for the Arts: TechTAP 

New York State Council on the Arts 



We also wish to thank the following individuals and organizational members: 

BlJSineSS/lndUStry Members: CA: Action/Cut Directed By Seminars; Dr. Rawstock; 
Eastman Kodak Co.; Film Society of Ventura County; Focal Point Systems, Inc.; Forest Creatures 
Entertainment Co.; Idea Live; Marshall/Stewart Productions, Inc.; ProMax Systems Inc.; Somford 
Entertainment; CO: The Crew Connection; CT: Bagel Fish Prods.; DC: Consciousness Squared 
Communications; FL Tiger Productions, Inc.; GA: Indie 7; IL: Optimus; MA: Coolidge Corner Theatre 
Fdtn.; CS Associates, Glidecam Industries; Harvard Medical School; MD: The Learning Channel; Ml: 
Grace & Wild Studios, Inc.; Zooropa Design; NJ: Black Maria Film Festival; Diva Communications, 
Inc.; NY: All In One Promotions, Inc.; American Montage; Analog Digital Intl.; Archive Films, Inc.; 
Asset Pictures; The Bureau for At-Risk Youth; C-Hundred Film Corporation; Cineblast! Prods.; Corra 
Films; Deconstruction Co.; Dekart Video; Dependable Delivery, Inc.; DV8 Video Inc.; Earth Video; 
Human Relations Media; Hypnotic; Inkling Prods.; Kitchen Sync Group, Inc.; KL Lighting; Mad 
Mad Judy; Media Services; Mercer Media; Mercer St. Sound; Mixed Greens; Nuclear Warrier 
Prods.; NTV Studio Productions; On Track Video, Inc.; One Kilohertz; Partisan Pictures; Paul 
Dinatale Post, Inc.; Prime Technologies; Son Vida Pictures, LLC; Sound Mechanix; Stuart Math 
Films, Inc.; The Tape Company; The Outpost; Tribune Pictures; Winstar Productions; Wolfen Prods 
OR: Angel Station Corp; PA: Smithtown Creek Prods.; TX: Rose Noble Entertainment; UT: KBYU-TV; 
Rapid Video, LLC; VA: Bono Film & Video; Dorst MediaWorks; Roland House, Inc.; WA: Amazon.com 
Global Griot Prod.; France: Kendal Prods. 

Nonprofit Members: AL Sidewalk Moving Picture Fest. AR: Hot springs Doc. Film Inst. 
AZ: U of Arizona; Scottsdale Community College; CA: The Berkeley Documentary Center; Filmmakers 
Alliance; Intl. Buddhist Film Festival; ITVS; LEF Foundation; Los Angeles Film Commission; Media 
Fund; NAATA; Ojai Film Society; San Francisco Jewish Festival; U of Cal. Extension, CMIL; USC 
School of Cinema TV; Victory Outreach Church; Whispered Media; CO: Denver Center for the 
Performing Arts; DC: Corporation for Public Broadcasting; Media Access Project; GA: Image Film & 
Video Center; HI: Aha Punana Leo; ID: Center for School Improvement; IL: Chicago Underground 
Film Fest.; Columbia College; Community Television Network; Facets; Little City Foundation; Rock 
Valley College; KY: Appalshop; LA: New Orleans Film Fest.; MA: CCTV; Coolidge Corner Theatre 
Foundation; Harvard Medical School; Long Bow Group Inc; Lowell Telecommunications Corp.; LTC 
Communications; MD: Laurel Cable Network; Native Vision Media; Ml: Ann Arbor Film Fest.; MN: 
Bush Artist Fellowships; IFP/North; Intermedia Arts;' Walker Arts Center; MO: Webster University 
Film Series; MS: Magnolia Indie Festival; NC: Doubletake Documentary Film Fest; NE: Nebraska 
Independent Film Project, Inc.; NY: Center for New American Media; Cinema Arts Center; City 
University of New York - TV Tech Program; Communications Society; Cornell Cinema; Creative 
Capital Foundation; Crowing Rooster Arts; DCTV; Downtown Community TV; Educational Video 
Center; Film Forum; Film Society of Lincoln Center; Globalvision, Inc.; Guggenheim Museum SoHo; 
Hamptons Film Festival; John Jay High School; Konscious, Inc.; Manhattan Neighborhood Network; 
National Foundation for Jewish Culture; National Video Resources; New York Film Academy; New 
York Women In Film and Television; Open Society Institute/Soros Documentary Fund; Paper Tiger TV; 
Spiral Pictures; The Standby Program; Stony Brook Film Fest.; Third World Newsreel; 
Thirteen/WNET; Upstate Films, Ltd.; Women Make Movies; OH: Cleveland Filmmakers; Media 
Bridges Cincinnati; Ohio Independent Film Festival; Ohio University-Film; Wexner Center; OR: 
Communication Arts, MHCC; Northwest Film Center; PA: PA/Council On The Arts; Prince Music Theater; 
Scribe Video Center; Temple University; Univ. of the Arts; Rl: Flickers Arts Collaborative; SC: South 
Carolina Arts Comm.; TN: Nashville Independent Film Fest; TX: Austin Cinemaker Co-Op; Austin 
Film Society; Southwest Alternate Media Project; U. of Texas Dept. Radio-TV-Film; Worldfest 
Houston; UT: Sundance Institute; VT: Kingdom County Productions; Wl: UWM Department of Film 
U of Wisconsin Dept of Communcation Arts; Wisconsin Film Office; Argentina: Lagart Producciones 
Canada: Toronto Documentary Forum/Hot Docs; Germany: International Shorts Film Festival; India 
Foundation for Universal Responsibility 



62 THE INDEPENDENT March 2001 



(M 



Li£S±J£l 



The AiVF Regional Salons provide an opportunity for 
members to discuss work, meet other independents, 
share war stories, and connect with the AIVF com- 
munity across the country. Visit the salons section at 
www.aivf.org for more info. Be sure to contact your 
local Salon Leader to confirm date, time, and loca- 
tion of the next meeting! 

Albany, NY: 

When: First Wed. of each month, 6:30 pm 

Where: Borders Books & Music, Wolf Rd. 

Contact: Mike Camoin (518) 489-2083; 

mike@videosforchange.com 

Austin, TX: 

Contact: Anne del Castillo, (512) 502-8104; 
labc@att.net 

Atlanta, GA: 

When: Second Tuesday of the month, 7 pm 
Where: Redlight Cafe, 553 Amsterdam Avenue 
Contact: Mark Wynns, IMAGE, (404) 352-4225 
x. 12; mark@imagefv.org 

Birmingham, AL: 

Contact: John Richardson, 
johnwr@mindspring.com 

Boulder, CO: 

Monthly activist screenings: 

When: Second Thursday of the month, 7 pm 

Where: Rocky Mountain Peace and Justice 

Center, 1520 Euclid Ave. 

Contact: Jon Stout, (303) 442-8445; 

programming@fstv.org 



Boston, MA: 

Contact: Fred Simon, (508) 528-7279; 
FSimon@aol.com 

Charleston, SC: 

When: Last Thursday of each month 6:30-8:45 pm 

Where: Charleston County Library Auditorium, 

68 Calhoun St. 

Contact: Peter Paolini, (843) 805-6841; 

filmsalon@aol.com 

Cleveland, OH: 

Contact: Annetta Marion and Bernadette 
Gillota at the Ohio Independent Film Festival 
(216) 781-1755; OhioIndieFilmFest@juno.com 

Dallas, TX: 

Contact: Bart Weiss, (214) 999-8999; 
bart@videofest.org 

Lincoln, NE: 

When: Second Wednesday of the month, 5:30 pm 

Where: Telepro, 1844 N. Street 

Contact: Dorothy Booraem, (402) 476-5422; 

dot@inetnebr.com; www.lincolnne.com/nonproflt/ 

nifp/ 

Los Angeles, CA: 

When: Third monday of every month, (starting 

March 19) at 8:00 pm 

Where: EZTV- Santa Monica 

Contact: Michael Masucci, (310) 829-3389; 

mmasucci@aol.com 

Milwaukee, WI: 

When: First Wednesday of the month 



Contact: Brooke Maroldi, (414) 276-8563; 
www.mifs.org/salon 

New Brunswick, NJ: 

Contact: Allen Chou, (732) 321-0711; 

allen@passionriver.com; www.passionriver.com 

Palm Beach, FL: 

Contact: Dominic Giannetti, (877) 378-2029; 
dgproductions@hotmail.com 

Portland, OR: 

Contact: Beth Harrington, (360) 256-6254; 
betuccia@aol.com 

Rochester, NY: 

Contact: Kate Kressman-Kehoe, (716) 244- 
8629; ksk@netacc.net 

San Diego, CA: 

Contact: Paul Espinosa, (619) 284-9811; 
espinosa@electriciti.com 

Tucson, AZ: 

Contact: Heidi Noel Brozek, bridge@theriver. 
com; Rosarie Salerno, destiny@azstarnet.com; 
http://access.tucson.org/aivf/ 

Washington, DC: 

Contact: DC Salon hotline (202) 554-3263 x. 4; 
jatvelez@hotmail.com 

AIVF has resources to assist enthusiastic and 
committed members who wish to start a salon in 
their own community. Please call (212) 807- 
1400 x. 236, or e-mail member s@ aivf.org for 
information. 




The 19th los Angeles Gay & Lesbian Film Festival 
july 12-23, 200i 

film and video submission deadline: March 31, 2001 

screenuntlng competition submission deadline: npnl 28, 2001 

corporate sponsorship opportunities: scott Meckllng 323-960-2385 

323-960-9200 outfest@outfest.org yuy.outfest.org 



STUDIO 4 J 



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March 2001 THE INDEPENDENT 63 



t'SfffiT-jTS^^H^^) 




By Jim Colvill 



n New Year's 
Eve 2000, as 
many pre- 
pared to 
celebrate 
the new year, 
New Mexico 
based filmmaker 
Daniel Kaven entered the 
second phase of production 
on his unusual documentary 
The Glass Pool Incident. 
The first phase of production 
occurred exactly a year 
before at the turn of the mil- 
lennium and involved sever- 
al different subjects being 
filmed in several different locations, such 
as New York, Los Angeles, Berlin, Tokyo, 
and Sydney. This widely disparate group 
which included a gay sailor, a German 
video artist, a rapper, and a small-time 
coke dealer, all gathered at the turn of 
2001 at the Glass Pool Inn in Las Vegas for 
a New Year's Eve party and screening of 
some of the footage from a year. Kaven is 
now tackling the daunting task of editing 
100 hours of footage down to 100 minutes 
and is seeking distribution. Daniel Kaven, 
(505) 262-9660; entropix@yahoo.com 

Director Donal O'Ceilleachair's 6-part 
documentary, Cuzco: Chronicle of a City 
at the End of the Century, also examines 
a particular time and place at the turn of 
the millennium. The location is the 
ancient city of Cuzco, capital of the Incas 
in the Andes highlands of Peru. The film 
chronicles how thousands descended on 
Cuzco to commemorate the millennium 
(New Year's Eve 1999), amongst them 
mystics and new agers destined for one of 
the world's meditational power points, 
Machu Picchu. The extensive shoot pro- 
duced 76 hours of source material, which 
includes over 130 interviews with both 
native Cuzquenians and foreign visitors. 
The film provides a mosaic of the city and 
its inhabitants through these portraits of 
different characters of all ages, beliefs, 

64 THE INDEPENDENT March 2001 



backgrounds, professions and nationali- 
ties Donal O'Ceilleachair, c/o Fair Isle 
Films, 32 Union Square East, Ste. #816 
North, New York, NY 10003; (212) 228- 
5838; cuzcol999@hotmail.com 

Writer/Director Lance Peverley's new 
film Tilt is an adaptation of Cervantes' 




Don Quixote with a difference. The film is 
told from the perspective of a Sancho 
Panza-like character, Sam Penzer, who is a 
recently unemployed salesman attempt- 
ing to get home to suburbia. He is, how- 
ever, stranded downtown having lost his 
wallet duting a transit strike. While look- 
ing for a phone, he encounters a mental- 
ly ill man who believes he is a knight, and 
the pair embark on a night journey 
through the city's mean streets. The film 
was shot and is set in Vancouver, and 
numerous members of the crew, as well as 
the cast, are X-Files alumni. Tilt is cur- 
rently in postproduction and Starstruck 
Productions is raising funds so the movie 
can tour the festival circuit. Contact: 
Holly Catinci (604) 737-4776 or Tiffany 
Chester (604) 737-2556; tilt@hollyword- 
spublicity.com 

Filmmaker Bill Buchanan, whose first 
taste of working in film was an internship 
with Sidney Lumet, describes his docu- 
mentary Geeks, S7teaks and Chicken 
Cheeks as "the definitive guide to the 
truly weirdest jobs on the planet." 
Through the course of the film Buchanan 
interviews a "chick sexer," an animal psy- 
chic, some repo men, and some phone sex 
operators among others, examining 
exactly what their jobs entail, as well as 
their personal feelings about these occu- 



pations. The director was keen to avoid 
demeaning his subjects: "In fact, that 
these people enjoy their work and seem 
satisfied at the end of the day is remark- 
able and made filming this project an 
instructive, inspirational experience," he 
says. Buchanan is already in production 
on a sequel to 
Geeks, which will 
uncover more 

strange and un- 
pleasant jobs that 
you probably never 
knew existed. Bu- 
chanan Film Com- 
pany, 6939 Lyre 
Lane, Dallas, TX 
75214; (214) 828- 
9696. 

Seven years in 
the making, Hand 
Game, a documen- 
tary from award- 



Willy Running Crane (I) and Earl Old Person, 
two Blackfeet stick players, are interviewed in the 
documentary Hand Game. 



winning Portland-based director and his- 
torian Lawrence Johnson, looks at a 
team-based gambling game popular 
throughout Native American cultures. 
The film, which opened the 25th annual 
American Indian Film Festival last 
November, chronicles how every year 
thousands of Native Americans hit the 
"hand game trail" competing in games on 
reservations throughout the west. Even 
though churches and courts have contin- 
ually attempted to supptess the game, it 
has remained a widespread phenomenon 
for many years. Native historian George 
Price says of Hand Game that "it is one of 
the rare documentaries that uses native 
voices exclusively without filtering the 
information through non-Indian academ- 
ic interpreters. This gives the viewers an 
experience much like going directly to the 
source — the indigenous cultural practi- 
tioners — and seeing the culture for them- 
selves." Contact: Larry Johnson at (503) 
294-1019; ljp@teleport.com 



AIVF Members: Send info on works in progress 
or recently completed works to: In & Out, The 
Independent, 304 Hudson St., 6th fl., New York, 
NY 10013; intern@aivf.org 



WRITE * DIRECT • SHOOT * EDIT 




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thanks t a 

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Campaign Design: Nik Ives Photos: Tom LeGoff 



TOTALLY INDEPENDENT 



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212 757 4580 or 800 52 duart 
www.duart.com 




Famous 

Director: Griffin Dunne 

Cinematographer: William Rexer II 

Editor: Nancy Baker 



La^i 



Series 7: The Contenders 

Director: Daniel Minahan 

Cinematographer: Randy Drummond 

Editor: Malcolm Jamieson 




Pie In The Sky: The Brigid Berlin Story 

Director: Vincent Fremont & Shelly Dunn Fremont 

Cinematographer: Victor Losic 

Editor: Michael Levine 




My Generation 

Director: Barbara Kopple 

Cinematographer: Tom Hurwitz 

Editor: Tom Haneke 




Off The Lip 

Director: Robert Mickelson 

Cinematographer: Joey Forsyte 

Editor: Peregrine Beckman 






/ / •■; P-> r } P t \ o 



Uhf 



Publisher: Elizabeth Peters 

Editor in Chief: Patricia Thomson 
leditor@aivf.orgl 

Managing Editor: Paul Power, Richard Baimbridge 
lindependent@aivf.orgl 

Assistant Editor: Scott Castle 
[festivals@aivf.orgl 

Interns: Jim Colvill, Dan Steinhart 

Contributing Editors: Richard Baimbridge, Lissa Gibbs, 
Cara Mertes, Robert L. Seigel, Esq. 

Design Director: Daniel Christmas 
lstartree@speedsite.coml 

Advertising Director: Laura D. Davis 
(212) 807-1400 x. 225; ldisplayads@aivf.orgl 

Advertising Rep: Bob Hebert 
lbob@aivf.orgl 



National Distribution: 
Ingram Periodicals (800) 627-6247 

Printed in the USA by Cadmus Journal Services 

POSTMASTER: Send address changes to: ' 
The Independent Film & Video Monthly, 304 Hudson St., 6 ft, NY, NY 10013. 

The Independent Film & Video Monthly (ISSN 0731-5198) is published monthly 
except February and September by the Foundation for Independent Video and Film 
(FIVF), a tax-exempt educational foundation dedicated to the advancement of media 
arts and artists. Subscription to the magazine is included in annual membership dues 
($55/yr individual: $3 5/yr student; $ 1 00/yr nonprofit/school; $150/yr business/ 
industry) paid to the Association of Independent Video and Filmmakers (AIVF), the 
national trade association of individuals involved in Independent film and video. 
Library subscriptions are $75/yr. Contact AIVF, 304 Hudson St., 6 ft, NY, NY 10013, 
(212) 807-1400; fax: (212) 463-8519; independent@aivf.org; www.aivf.org 
Periodical Postage Paid at New York, NY, and at additional mailing offices. 



^P0 Publication of The Independent is made possible in part with 
. /!*Tf. i public funds from the New York State Council on the Arts, a state 
!"?r."'.i! agency, and the National Endowment for the Arts, a federal agency. 



Publication of any advertisement in The Independent does not constitute an 
endorsement. AIVF/FIVF are not responsible for any claims made in an ad. Letters to 
The Independent should be addressed to the editor tetters may be edited for length. 
All contents are copyright of the Foundation for Independent Video and Film, Inc. 
Reprints require written permission and acknowledgement of the article's previous 
appearance in The Independent The Independent is indexed in the Alternative 
Press Index and is a member of the Independent Press Association. 

© Foundation for Independent Video & Film, Inc. 2001 
AIVF/FIVF staff: Elizabeth Peters, executive director; Alexander Spencer, administra- 
tive director; Michelle Coe, program director; James Israel & Moikgantsi Kgama- 
Gates, information services assistants; Greg Gilpatrick & Joshua Sanchez, web con- 
sultants; Anne Hubbell, development associate; Noriko Yoshinaga, intern; AIVF/FIVF 
legal counsel Robert I. Freedman, Esq Cowan, DeBaets, Abrahams & Sheppard. 

Visit The Independent online at: www.aivf.org 

AIVF/FIVF Board of Directors: Angela Alston, Doug Block, Paul Espmosa (treasurer), 
Dee Dee Halleck, Vivian Kleiman. Lee Lew-Lee (secretary), Jim McKay (co-chair), 
Robb Moss (president), Elizabeth Peters (ex officio), James Schamus*, Valerie Soe 
(vice president), Ellen Spiro, Bart Weiss (co-chair), Debra Zimmerman* 
*FIVF Board of Directors only. 




31 Micro-distributors up close 

Taking a lead from small record labels and DIY 
filmmakers, a new breed of micro -distributor is on 
the rise. Here's a look at three. 

Brian Frye 



34 Testing the Limits: HD24p 

Brad Anderson's Session 9 was shot using Sony's 
revolutionary High Definition 24p camera, the 
CineAlta. The director and his cinematographer, 
Uta Briesewitz, assess the experience. 

by Patricia Thomson 




2 THE INDEPENDENT April 2001 



Upfront 

7 News 

Landmark Theatres in Texas 
finds a place for a local son's 
shorts; reading the fine print 
for AFI's Sony DVCam Fest. 

by Cynthia Hand 
Neely; Scott Castle 



FAQ & Info 

42 Distributor FAQ 

The Brothers Lipsky bring 
their considerable expertise 
in new media and traditional 
distribution to bear on their 
new venture, Lot 47 Films. 

BY LlSSA GlBBS 



11 Wired Blue Yonder 46 Funder FAQ 



Proprietary software finds its 
soulmate in Richard Linklater's 
animated Waking Life; three 
new media spaces open in New 
York City. 

by Brian Poyser; 
Joy Dietrich 

14 Festival Circuit 

Open arms for digital video 
at IFFCON; a report from 
Sundance 2001: the vibe, the 
films, the online festival, and 
the Lab films. 

by Michael Fox; 
Richard Baimbridge, 
Karen Voss & 
Patricia Thomson 



Departments 

22 Field Reports: 
Buffalo, New York 

Micro films and public access 
TV, plus a look at the numbers. 

by Ghen Dennis, 
Stephanie Gray, Carl 
Mrozek 

38 Technology 

A review of the CineAlta, 
Sony's High Definition 24p 
camera. 

by Robert M. Goodman 



40 Books 

Movie Wars, by Jonathan 
Rosenbaum; The Biz, by 
Schuyler M. Moore. 

by Robert Nelson; 
Innes Guminsky 



NewMarket Capital has a 
history of financing indepen- 
dent films, and this spring 
started distributing them as 
well, beginning with Memento. 

by Michelle Coe 

48 Festivals 
54 Notices 
58 Classifieds 



@AIVF 

60 Events 
63 Salons 




COVER: Actor and 
cowriter Steve Gevedon 
in Brad Anderson's 
Session 9. Photo: 
Claire Folger. courtesy 
USAFilms. 




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A Landmark Event 

Houston Filmmaker 's Mini-Docs Pkry in Texas Landmark Theatres 

by Cynthia Hand Neely 



AS ANYBODY IN TEXAS WILL GLADLY TELL 
you, the Lone Star State is big. Real big. 
One Houston filmmaker, however, is mak- 
ing his mark by producing small. 

Cinematographer Gary L. Watson is 
using local filmmaking and local story- 
telling to get past the seemingly insur- 
mountable obstacles that have kept the 
work of short filmmakers out of commer- 
cial theaters for years. In collaboration 
with Landmark Theatres, an indepen- 
dent/foreign film chain with theaters 
across the country, Watson is running 
Lone Stars, a series of 1-2 minute films at 
Houston and Austin Landmark venues. 

The idea of showcasing local people in 
short films and using a movie theater to 
reach out to the community has been per- 
colating in Watson's head for about 25 
years. Watson began his career as a TV 
news cameraman and has been occupied 
with producing countless commercials, 
documentaries, and corporate programs, 
as well as running his own company, 
Roadster Productions, Inc., in Houston. 
A couple of years ago, that idea started to 
become a reality. 

The concept for Lone Stars is to make 
films that "celebrate the diversity and cre- 
ativity" of real hometown people like 
"artists, performers, social activists, and 
people with out-of-the-ordinary voca- 
tions." His compact portraits focus on 
"people who are rarely seen, but enhance 
our community, lead fascinating and 
sometimes curious lives, and add flavor 
and color to the city." 

In 1999, not quite ready to pursue his 
original dream of moving to a small Texas 
town and renovating an old theater, 
Watson began a doubtful search for a 
neighborhood venue willing to support his 
idea. When he met Sarah Gish, then 
manager of Landmark's Houston theaters, 
he found a kindred spirit and a sympa- 
thetic ear for his cause. If Watson would 
shoot some short films about interesting 
local personalities, Gish, who was already 
familiar with his work, pledged to support 
him all the way. 



Texas filmmaker Gary L. Watson created 
the Lone Stars series to showcase short 
films about local people. 




Gish eventually sold Landmark on 
Watson's idea, and Lone Stars had its first 
exhibition venue. According to Gish 
(who has since left Landmark to open 
Gish Creative, a marketing company in 
Houston) , it was a matter of perfect tim- 
ing. "We knew we wanted to interact with 
the [local film] community, but didn't 
know exactly where to start," she recalls. 
"Landmark is very supportive of filmmak- 
ers, but unfortunately it doesn't have 
expendable income. Still, there are other 
things we can offer." Like screen time. 
Landmark Houston has two theaters, 
with six screens; Austin's Dobie Theatre 
has four screens. 

For his pilot project, Watson spotlight- 
ed Rebecca Bass, a high school art teacher 
who, for nine years, has taught a class on 
building art cars. She handpicks students 
who "need a boost, who may not be 
involved [in sports or other school activi- 
ties] and would benefit from inclusion in 
a group project." In last year's Houston 
Art Car Competition, their entry won first 
prize and is now destined for a British Art 
Car Museum. The cars are indeed a sight 
to behold, and remarkably, in less than 
two minutes, Watson captured the story 
and the emotion the students experience 
through the program. 



edited by RICHARD BAIMBRIDGE 

Art Cars ran the entire month of July in 
Houston. Austin's first showing was in 
January 2001. Audience response cards 
were overwhelmingly positive. Over 93% 
liked the idea of having short films added 
to the film program and 94-3% wanted 
specifically to see more Lone Stars. Two 
more in the series have been shown 
recently in Houston and will also be 
shown in Austin. 

Watson self-funded his pilot (each film 
is budgeted at about $13,000), but a 
$5,000 grant from the Texas Filmmakers 
Production Fund was an enormous boost. 
Southwest Alternate Media Project 
(SWAMP), a media arts organization in 
Houston led by Mary Lampe, provided a 
nonprofit umbrella for Lone Stars through 
its Sponsored Projects/Administered 
Grants program. 

Watson feels other venues for the Lone 
Stars series are possible — perhaps as a 
local PBS broadcast, or as part of an on- 
line movie site. The subject of each film 
can make it viable in different venues. 
The Art Cars film, for example, aired on 
the Houston Independent School District 
cable channel. 

Watson's initial goal is to make this a 
successful series in Texas, "But once I've 
proven it here, I think it will have value in 
other markets," he says, "and I hope to be 
able to work with filmmakers in other 
cities." The theory behind the Lone Stars 
concept is not to have one documentary 
shown all over the country, but to have 
documentaries tailor-made for their own 
specific communities. "Some advice that 
was given to me a few years ago, when 
looking for opportunities to get films 
made, was to look in my own backyard, 
and that's what I did. I looked in my own 
backyard for subject matter, funding, and 
exhibition." 

For now, raising money to produce 
more micro -docs is Watson's number one 
priority, but he's confident he'll be suc- 
cessful. "I've proven that this is a viable, 
popular project," he says. "And I'm excit- 
ed about being able to do it and to have 
Landmark's participation." 

Cynthia Hand Neely f( 'tynNeely@aol.com) t.< 
a Houston-based freelance writer/producer and 
screenumter. She is president of Women tn Film 

and Television/Houston. 



\ r .,l 2001 THE INDEPENDENT 7 




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The field's best resources 
for Self Distribution: 

Published to order, ensuring the most current information available! 

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The AIVF Guide to International Film & Video Festivals 

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(open 11-6 T, TH, F; 11-9 W) for instant gratification! 

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The mission of the Association of Independent Video 
and Filmmakers (AIVF) is to increase the creative 
and professional opportunities for independent video- 
and filmmakers and to ensure and enhance the growth 
of independent media by providing services, advocacy, 
and information. In these ways, AIVF promotes 
diversity and democracy in the communication and 
expression of ideas and images. 

AIVF Founding Principles: 

1 The Association is an organization of and for independent 
video- and filmmakers. 

2 The Association encourages excellence, commitment 
and independence; it stands for the principle that video an 
filmmaking is more than just a job, that it goes beyond 
economics to involve the expression of broad human 
values. 

3 The Association works, through the combined efforts of 
the membership, to provide practical, informational, and 
moral support for independent video- and filmmakers and 
is dedicated to ensuring the survival and providing support 
for the continuing growth of independent video- and 
filmmaking. 

4 The Association does not limit its support to one genre, 
ideology, or aesthetic, but furthers diversity of vision in 
artistic and social consciousness. 

5 The Association champions independent video and film 
as valuable, vital expressions of our culture, and is 
determined to open, by mutual action, pathways toward 
exhibition of this work to the community at large. 



G^Ei) 



THE NOT SO FINE PRINT 

Entering the AFI Sony DVCam Fest 

by Scott Castle 




AS OBVIOUS ADVICE 
goes, "Read some- 
thing carefully 
before you sign it" is 
up there with 
"Look both ways 
before crossing the 
street." While one 
can attest to the 
inherent wisdom in 



"The undersigned agrees that if the tape 
hereby submitted is selcted for television 
exhibition, regardless of whether or not 
said tape is selected to win a prize award, 
Sony and AFI retains nonexclusive rights in 
perpetuity for all markets (including but 
not limited to internet rights)" 

— Excerpt from AFI DVCAM Fest entry form 



such statements, they're often ignored. 
But like an SUV reversing down a one- 
way street, a seemingly innocuous line in 
a lengthy contract can hit you with unex- 
pected consequences. 

Recently the American Film Institute 
in conjunction with Sony launched the 
AFI Sony DVCam Fest, a contest in 
which the grand prize winner receives 
$50,000 in Sony professional equipment 
and has their film shown at the AFI festi- 
val and at NAB, along with four other 
category winners. But a closer look at the 
"Rights and Clearances" section of the 
entry form reveals that you might be giv- 
ing up more than you bargained for. The 
form states that "regardless of whether or 
not said tape is selected to win a prize 
award, Sony and AFI retain nonexclusive 
rights in perpetuity for all markets." 

This could be potentially devastating 
for any film- or videomaker who had plans 
to sell their work at a later date. After he 
saw the entry form, filmmaker Steve Katz 
expressed concern over unintentionally 
giving up the rights to one's film. "I imag- 
ine that any distributor that might be 
interested in [our] film would be very ner- 
vous that a rival entertainment company 
like Sony can exploit this anyplace," 



explains Katz. "Whether or not their 
intention is something more benign and 
to your benefit — like just using it to mar- 
ket the piece — they didn't say that. It 
doesn't say marketing." When contacted 
by The Independent, both Sony and AFI 
declined to comment. 

"I'm sure [marketing] is what they 
mean," offers Michael Tuckman, Director 
of Acquisitions at the New York-based 
distributor The Cinema Guild, "but 
unless it's spelled out, you don't want to 
take the chance." He explains that a bet- 
ter-worded agreement would contain 
stipulations limiting the time frame and 
the usage of the film to clips. An option 
to renew the contract at a later date could 
also be included. 

"They are taking a potentially very 
important right away from you," explains 
Jon Gerrans of Strand Distributing. "If 
you are lucky enough to find a distributor 
for your film, they are probably going to 
demand exclusivity, a requirement that 
can no longer be met." When acquiring a 
film, Gerrans asks filmmakers to sign an 
agreement saying the rights are exclusive. 
This is to protect Strand from potential 
lawsuits from licensees (e.g., a broadcast- 
er) if it's discovered that the film was 
already exhibited. If such a suit occurs, "I 
would then turn around and sue the pro- 
ducer or director or whomever I got the 
rights from," Gerrans says. 

In order to avoid unwittingly squander- 
ing the rights to a project, make certain 
you read everything before you sign it. This 
particular contest exemplifies a contract 
that takes more than one might expect. 
Legal terms can often confuse the unini- 
tiated — for instance, those who may not 
realize that perpetuity means forever. 
Reading your contract carefully, or enlist- 
ing the aid of a lawyer if you don't under- 
stand something, is essential. 

"Once you sign that contract, that's it," 
reminds Katz. "They have a legal right to 
use that film forever and ever. There's no 
term limits. A contract is a contract." 

Scott Castle is assistant editor of 
The Independent. 



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D 



The Revolution Will Be Animated 

Is Waking Life a Wake -Up Call 
for Indie Animators/ 

by Bryan Poyser 



After its well-received premiere at 
Sundance, the question on a lot of peo- 
ple's minds these days is: Have Austinites 
Richard Linklater, Tommy Pallotta, and 
Boh Sabiston touched off a revolution in 
independent animation with their new 
film Waking Life? 

The answer is yes and no. Yes, 
because it's the first independently 
produced, fully computer-animated 
feature film in America, and there will 
inevitably be a second, a third, and so 
on. And no, because this is the kind of 
film that can only be made once. All 
attempts to imitate it will likely fail, 
either by shying away from its collab- 
orative aesthetic or its idea-driven 
narrative. That said, while we wait for 
the imitation, we can look at the potential 
Waking Life has for inspiration. 

Linklater is once again, as he was ten 
years ago, ahead of the curve of indepen- 
dent filmmaking. Slacker touched off a 
wave of idiosyncratic regional filmmaking, 
sending hundreds of young people into 
the streets to make films about themselves 
and the places they lived. Waking Life may 
have the same effect, only sending those 
kids to their desktops instead of the 
streets, inspiring them to pour their 
thoughts into animation rather than live 
action. If anyone needed more proof that 
the tools of the digital age allow individ- 
ual artists to compete with commercial 
Hollywood, this film is it. Waking Life's 
extremely low-budget beginnings (shot on 
DV with a minimal crew and mostly non- 
actors) have been covered over with lay- 
ers of sophisticated artistry. The film looks 
handmade, not cheap, taking 2-D anima- 
tion places that 3-D is too clunky to go. 

Sabiston's homemade software pro- 
gram, nicknamed "Rotoshop" because it's 
based on the old concept of rotoscoping, 
works by loading DV footage onto com- 
puters (Macintosh G4s in this case), then 
tracing over the footage using Wacom 




Stills from the Rotoshopped 
Waking Life, Richard Linklater's 
independent animated feature, 
which debuted at Sundance. 



pads and pressure-sensi- 
tive pens. An interpola- 
tion function allows the 
computer to carry the animation over 
several frames, following the natural 
motion of the footage and freeing the ani- 
mator from having to draw each frame 
separately. There is also a layering func- 
tion that gives the animation more of a 
3D look at times. 

Sabiston's software was utilitarian from 
the get-go. He originally designed it to 
complete a project for an MTV contest. 
"I really was just planning on buying a 
piece of software that would let you scan 
footage onto the computer and let you 
trace on top of it . . . The deadline [for 
the contest] was coming up fast, and I 
couldn't find the software to do what I 
wanted, and so I decided [designing] it 
would be a fun computer project to do," 
says Sabiston, a graduate of the M.I.T 
Media Lab. Once work began on the far 
more sophisticated Waking Life, Sabiston 
still kept the user interface as simple as 
possible, intending the program to be eas- 
ily used by people who are first and fore- 
most artists, not computer animators. 

Linklater, Sabiston, and Pallotta were 
interested in finding people who could 
apply principles of painting and illustra- 
tion to a time-based medium like film, 



rather than recruiting computer whizzes. 
"There's almost a compecition among 
companies like Pixar and Dreamworks to 
create the most photo-realistic computer 
animation possible," says Pallotta. 
"They're obsessed with making hair, or 
blades of grass look perfectly real, but in 
the end it ends up being more artificial 
because the real world is not 
about perfect pixelation — it's 
about flaws. We're very much on 
the opposite extreme. We're look- 
ing for individuality and expres- 
sionism. If a bus goes by while 
we're filming, that's great. We 
want background noise in our 
animation." 

Keep in mind, however, that this 
wasn't a low-budget film that 
came out of nowhere. Linklater is 
an established indie icon and 
Sabiston and Pallotta, an Austin-based 
live-action filmmaker, have had their fair 
share of success on the festival circuit 
with shorts like Snack and Drink and 
Roadhead. Waking Life features cameos by 
Julie Delpy, Ethan Hawke, Steven 
Soderbergh, and Linklater himself, while 
companies like IFC Productions and 
Thousand Words were behind it from the 
beginning, so it wasn't exactly a built-in- 
the -basement affair. 

But take a look at the tools: prosumer- 
level cameras and computers that are eas- 
ily within the reach of an independent 
filmmaker; thousands of hours rather 
than millions of dollars created the film's 
production value. The 31 animators who 
worked for nearly a year on the project 
were paid very little but kept coming back 
because of their love of the project and 
the freedom they were given to shape the 
film. With advances in animation soft- 
ware sure to come, making it cheaper and 
more accessible to the masses, there is 
sure to be somewhat of a democratizing 
effect — perhaps not unlike the DV cam- 
era and desktop editing revolution. 

"I hope we see more independent com- 
puter animation films coming out in the 
next few years," says Linklater. "But at 
this stage, it isn't an easy or cheap thine to 
do. Even though Wiifcny Life cost signifi- 
cantly less than something like Toy Story, 
it would still be hard for an individual to 
make. Bob was years ahead of everyone 
else because he's been working on this 



\ r .,l 2001 THE INDEPENDENT 11 






rf_*i -^U±_ 



^D 



SUMMERS ARE INTENSE© NYU 




[project] for so long and improving the 
technology as he goes." 

So what is it specifically about 
Sabiston's software that shows so much 
potential? Since the film was already shot 
and edited before any animation began, 
the software could be considered just 
another postproduction tool, like timing 
or opticals or AfterEffects. But it's a tool 
that completely re -defined the film, tak- 
ing it out of its humble DV beginnings 
and bringing it into a world of imagina- 
tion. Computer-aided rotoscoping is even 
showing up briefly in other independent 
films, like Fisher Stevens' new romantic 
comedy Just a Kiss and Esther Bell's 
underground festival favorite Godass. It's 
not a hard effect to create, and the con- 
cept of drawing over previously pho- 
tographed images is almost as old as film- 
making itself. 

Sabiston is considering plans to release 
the software commercially, possibly post- 
ing it on a website to be downloaded for a 
fee. Meanwhile, everyone from film stu- 
dents to advertising agencies and produc- 
tion companies are excited by Waking Life. 
Which brings us back to that problem of 
imitation. The most egregious example to 
date is the Earthlink TV ads that many 
mistakenly attributed to Sabiston &. Co. 
The producer of those commercials had 
initially offered the Earthlink job to 
Sabiston and Pallotta, who declined, since 
they were concentrating on finishing the 
film, but a series of ads was produced any- 
way. Sabiston considered suing the pro- 
duction company, but lawyers told him he 
had a weak case since it was a style that 
was copied, and not the actual software 
that had been stolen. 

Waking Life's standing- ovation premiere 
at Sundance put everyone in a better 
mood, however. And one could say that 
the animation revolution the film promis- 
es is already happening, as a few of the 
animators have already started working 
on their own animated shorts, inspired by 
the success of Waking Life. They'll have to 
find another place to work on their pro- 
jects, though, since the G4s were sold to 
raise enough money to bring all the ani- 
mators to Sundance. 

Bryan Poyser co-founded the Cinematexas Short 
Film Festival and works as conference coordina- 
tor for SXSW. His newest short, Pleasureland, 
screened at the New York Underground and Ann 



12 THE INDEPENDENT April 2001 



<^z 






5) 



Eye Spy a New Museum 

New Media Sees a Housing Boom in New York City 



New media art received a boost of 
recognition when the Whitney Museum 
included it for the first time in its Biennial 
last year. Yet, most American muse- 
ums have still been slow in commit- 
ting curatorial resources to electronic 
and digital arts (the notable excep- 
tion being Ohio's Beecher Center, 
which opened in January 2000) com- 
pared to their counterparts in Europe 
and Japan. But if New York City is 
any indication, American new media 
may finally be on the road to gaining 
both the respect and financing it 
already commands overseas. In the 
past, new media has managed to get expo- 
sure primarily through video/film festivals 
and "alternative" spaces like New York's 
Thundergulch, but as of this year, New 
York will boast the creation of three new 
media arts museums, where there was 
essentially nothing of the kind before. 

By far the most ambitious project is a 
90,000 square foot museum from 
Eyebeam Atelier [www.eyebeam.org], a 
SoHo -based new media arts organization. 
The future museum will be located on 
West 21st Street in the Chelsea area of 
Manhattan — the hotbed of New York's 
gallery scene — and is scheduled to open 
in 2004/2005. Meanwhile, a temporary 
exhibition space of 8,000 square feet, 
carved out of former truck bays, opened 
as a preview space in February. In addition 
to the traditional repertoire of exhibition 
spaces, gift shop, restaurant, and archives, 
the future museum will house a sizeable 
theater, conceived with the help of com- 
poser Philip Glass, as well as production 
studios, according to Angela Molenaar, 
Eyebeam's director of special projects. 

Independent filmmakers should take 
special note, because the production stu- 
dios will consist of a moving images divi- 
sion, sound studios, and other depart- 
ments relevant to the production of new 
media. Filmmakers seeking low-cost 
means to add special effects or animation, 



by Joy Dietrich 

for example, can submit a proposal to 
Eyebeam, and, if approved, Eyebeam 
would then take on the project at a cost 




Viewer participation at the 
Media Z Lounge at the New 
Museum of Contemporary Art 



far below that of standard 
commercial postproduc- 
tion facilities. Coming up 
with the financing for the $40 million 
museum will be no small challenge, how- 
ever, at a time when the economy, and 
particularly the tech industry, are show- 
ing signs of slowing down. Undaunted, 
Molenaar says, "There will be no real 
fund-raising events or capital raising held, 
as we will probably float a bond with the 
city of New York." 

As for government funding, Eyebeam 
can be sure there will be very little. The 
general lack of public funding in the U.S. 
for the arts has been a sore point for 
many, but it is especially so in the field of 
new media. "It's definitely easier to get 
government funding for new media pro- 
jects in Europe [than in America]," says 
Anne Ellegood, assistant curator of the 
New Museum of Contemporary Art's 
Media Z Lounge [www.newmuseum.org/ 
medialounge]. Germany's ZKM, 
Canada's Banff Centre for the Arts, and 
Japan's Intercommunication Center are 
well-supported, and have been around for 
years, whereas "in the U.S. we're forced to 
rely on private donors or corporate spon- 
sorships," Ellegood says. 

Media Z Lounge did just that. The first 
of the three new media centers to open its 
doors last November in SoHo, small but 



promising Media Z has corporate muscle 
behind it, coming from Zenich Electronics 
Company (hence the "Z" in Media Z). 
Though the basement space is sleekly 
designed by the celebrated architectural 
firm Lot/ek, known for its innovative use 
of industrial objects, at times the space 
feels somewhat like a promotion for 
Zenith products. At least the products are 
being put to good use, however, by show- 
casing the latest digital art, experimental 
video and sound works, and importantly, 
the center is free to the public. Large, 
bright- orange buoys are used as seats to 
view experimental video on Zenith's high- 
definition and flat-screen TV monitors. 
Steel-colored egg-carton foam lines the 
ceiling to absorb noise from sound works, 
such as Candice Breitz's Babel Series, the 
center's debut exhibition. Web-based pro- 
jects curated by the center in conjunction 
with new media organizations such as 
Rhizome.org, Harvestworks 
and the Moving Image Gallery 
can also be viewed from five 
computer stations. 
The New York Center for 
Media Arts [www.nycmediaarts.org] is 
the third newcomer, making its debut this 
May. The center is in an old printing fac- 
tory, nicknamed the Phun (as in "Fun") 
Factory, near the PS. 1 Museum in 
Queens. Backed by Korean private 
investors and curated by Yong Woo Lee, 
NYCMA hopes to attract a more interna- 
tional crowd. Besides housing the 
archives of Nam June Paik, the father of 
video art, the museum will also offer glob- 
al education programs in new media, 
coordinating with universities from Seoul 
to Shanghai. 

NYCMA's inaugural exhibition will be 
centered on the theme "Electronic 
Maple" (a title that juxtaposes the inani- 
mate with the animate). Invited artists, 
including Nam June Paik, Japan's Masaki 
Fujihata, and Diana Thater from the U.S., 
will explore a discourse of nature in the 
language of the digital. And you can be 
sure that it will double as a house-warm- 
ing party tor an art form that has been our 
in the cold far roo long. 

Joy Dietrich is a New York-based journalist 
and filmmaker. Her first short film. Surplus, was 
shown at Raindance Film Festival in London and 
Los Angeles Short l~'ilm Festival, among od 



\pnl 2001 THE INDEPENDENT 13 



Embraceable You 

Digital Video Finds Open Arms at IFFCON 



y Michael Fox 



If the Sundance Film Festival is a 
barometer of the current state of inde- 
pendent filmmaking, the annual Inter- 
national Film Financing Conference 
(IFFCON), held the previous weekend in 
San Francisco, offers a glimpse into the 
future. A mecca for projects at every 
stage from concept to 
postproduction, IFF- 
CON matches 60 
independent U.S. 
producers with repre- 
sentatives from the- 
atrical distributors, 
cable networks, and 
European television 
broadcasters. Many of 
these films will be 
completed in the next 
12 to 24 months, 
amidst a period of 
extraordinary techno- 
logical flux. Naturally, 
the rapid rise of digital 
video was a favorite dis- 
cussion topic this year, 
and one theme emerged 
from the conjecture and 
uncertainty: Funders 
and programmers are 
now embracing the 
technology that film- 
makers have been push- 
ing the last few years. 

"In the independent 
world, we're going to be 
mostly digital within a 
few years," declared 
Studionext president and 
CEO Ira Deutchman 
(Wayne Wang's Center of 
the World) in the keynote 
discussion. "Ten years 
from now, everything will 
be digital." Agreeing in 
part, producer Mary Jane 
Skalski (Frank Whaley's 
The ]immy Show) respond- 
ed, "There's no reason for 



DIGITAL FEATURES 
AT IFFCON 2001: 

Kelly Anderson, Every Mother's Son 

(DVC Pro) 

Katie Cadigan, Looney Tube (HDTV) 

Liz Garbus, Waxter Girls (DV Cam) 

Jeannette Paulson Hereniko, Fire in 

the Womb (mini DV to 35 mm) 

Silas Howard, By Hook or by Crook 

(mini DV) 

Laurie Kahn-Leavitt, Tupperware: 

Earl and Brownies Plastic Empire 

(Beta SP or DigiBeta) 

Nancy Kelly, Art to the Rescue? 

(mini DV) 

Grace Lee, The Grace Lee Project 

(mini DV) 

Jennifer Maytorena Taylor My 

Comrade Yankee (mini DV) 

Jack Mcdonald, The Glidermen of 

Neptune (Beta SP) 

K Louise Middleton, Glass 

(16:9 DV Widescreen) 

Jesse Moss, Speedo (mini DV) 

Julia Reichert, A Lion in the House 

(mini DV) 

Barbara Rick, In Good Conscience: 

Sister Jeannine Gramick's Journey 

of Faith (mini DV) 

Yvonne Russo, True Whispers 
(Beta SP) 

DanSatorius,LeJeuDeAfarse///es 
.theTarotCardofVarianFry 

(mini DV) 

Scott Saunders, The Technical 

Writer (W format TBD) 

Yue-Qing Yang, Footbinding: The 
Three Inch Golden Lotus (mini DV) 
SabrinaZanella-Foresi.fre of" fAe 
Future (16 mm & mini DV) 






documentaries to 
shoot on film any- 
more." 

In interviews 
throughout the week- 
end, other industry 
representatives tend- 
ed to concur with 
Skalski. Lisa Heller, 
HBOs director of 
documentary and 
family programming, 
reported, "I haven't 
been in a situation 
where a small for- 
mat would prevent 
us from doing what 
we normally do. 
And I can think of 
so many cases 
w T here small-format 
has allowed a film- 
maker to capture a 
story with a level of 
intimacy and 

! access that 



would' ve been otherwise impossible. But 
in the end, it's about story, drama, pathos, 
and strong characters." 

Mark Fichlander, Court TV's senior 
director of development and internation- 
al co -production, described how things 
have changed since his years at National 
Geographic, "If it wasn't on film, we 



Top: An array of clips from recent digitally 
shot feature films was presented by Next 
Wave's Peter Broderick. 

(I to r) Film Transit's Jan Rofekamp meets 
with filmmaker Rob Epstein and producer 
Michael Ehrenzweig at IFFCON 2001. 



<? v* 



weren't interested. Now anything goes. 
Especially with the crime and justice 
genre, there's a multitude of sources," he 
said, noting broadcasters' willingness to 
air even low-resolution footage shot by 
surveillance and traffic-light cameras. 
"People make allowances for a wide range 
of visual quality. But there's an annoyance 
factor to bad audio," he cautioned. 

"In the U.K., we're slightly behind in 
this area," conceded Gayle Oilman, 
Channel 4's director of co-productions 
and programming. "Most of our docs are 
shot on DigiBeta." Citing the rapid adop- 
tion of nonlinear editing, Gilman sees a 
similar path for digital production — and 
just in time. "Ad dollars are spread among 
more networks, so there's less money, so 
budgets are being driven down," she said. 

While documentary makers have 
always been the first to adopt innovations 
such as lightweight cameras and video- 
tape, feature filmmakers have wasted no 
time in joining the recent stampede to 
cost-effective digital video. But aesthetic 
considerations, not budget, should be the 



14 THE INDEPENDENT April 2001 



determining factors in ascertaining which 
shooting format to choose, Deutchman 
said. "Every project has to be sized up 
from a creative standpoint." Rebecca 
Wyndham, senior VP of production of 
Film Four's American division, was even 
more strident. "I haven't yet been pitched 
a project that the filmmaker is insisting 
on doing in digital video, nor have I 
imposed DV on someone to conform to a 
certain budget. I won't support the blan- 
ket idea that one can shoot any project 
[in DV] in order to bring the budget 
down and get it made, because not all 
content lends itself to that medium." 

Peter Broderick of Next Wave Films 
simultaneously illustrated the range of 
artistry the format encourages and its 
acceptance by distributors with a program 
of clips from 10 digitally produced fea- 
tures. The fourth Dogme film, The King Is 
Alive, and Mexican master Arturo 
Ripstein's first digital film, Such As Life, 
could pass for film and will have no prob- 
lem getting distribution. Pioneering low- 
budget American indies such as Boxes 
(bought by the Independent Film 
Channel) and Big Monday (an urban tale 
comprised of one long, extraordinarily 
mobile take) are not only well-made but 
utilize the technology in ways that 
promise a reinvention of cinema as a truly 
intimate art form. 

Guy Stodel, vice president of acquisi- 
tions for Lions Gate Films, agrees with 
HBO's Heller that the story is far more 
important than the look of the film. "The 
movie has to play and have a hook. In the 
indie arena, you're already targeting a 
sophisticated audience, so they wouldn't 
pooh-pooh the look of video today." 
Deutchman concurs. "For certain kinds 
of movies there's a need for eye candy, 
and we still don't have the ability to make 
something as beautiful on DV as on 
35mm. But people are willing to accept 
any kind of image as long as it's consistent 
from scene to scene. I just don't think 
audiences pay as much attention as we'd 
like to believe they do." That's the real 
bottom line: When paying customers 
accept digital video without blinking, 
then distributors, broadcasters, and pro- 
grammers won't hesitate to bankroll films 
made with the format. 

Michael Fox is a San Francisco 
journalist and film critic. 



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Indies: 1, Hollywood: 

The Sundance Film Festival gets back to basics 

with a year of outstanding films and little hype. ..which 

makes some people very nervous. 




r . I 



"It's different every year, and yet it's 
the same," remarked one 15 -year veteran 
as we compared notes on Sundance 2001. 
For me, however, this year's Sundance 
Film Festival marked a significant shift in 
thinking, with more focus on true indie 
films than on being a carnival of media 
chaos or a Vegas-style jackpot for distrib- 
utors and filmmakers. 

Distributor bids were remarkably low 
compared to recent years. Todd Field's In. 
the Bedroom fetched a tepid $1 million 
deal from Miramax despite its festival 
buzz. By the end of the festival, the largest 
acquisition was David Siegel's The Deep 
End for $4 million from Fox Searchlight. 
Meanwhile, this was the first year that 
Sundance featured an online component 
[see story p. 19], but the absence of dot- 
com hype was clearly noticable. One 
could even say that the absence of any 
hype was clearly noticable. Part of that 
was because Park City instituted a ban on 
outdoor flyers and movie posters, slapping 
people with fines if they were caught pass- 
ing out propaganda, so at times it was 
hard to tell there was a festival happening 
at all. Added to that was the fact that 
Slamdance, which is a traditional fixture 
on Main Street — the very heart of 
Sundance — headed high into the hills to 
a bigger, better venue, leaving a vacuous 
hole in its former place. The result of all 
this being that Park City felt like a ghost 
town at times, causing even the festival 
organizers to wonder what went wrong. 

Yet, according to both Sundance and 
Slamdance figures, theater attendance 
has never been higher. And in my three 



by Richard Baimbridge 

years at the festival, I have 
never seen such an out- 
standing crop of films: 
John Cameron Mitchell's 
Hedwig and the Angry Inch, 
Michael Cuesta's L.I.E., 
Richard Linklater's Waking 





Lola Cola (left) and Robert Eads in Kate Davis' 
Southern Comfort, our Transsexual Cowboy Love 
Story Award winner. 

Life, and Henry Bean's Dramatic Grand 
Jury Prize winner The Believer are just a 
few examples. And they are films that get 
to the very essence of what Sundance is 
all about, because they challenge the pre- 
cepts not just of Hollywood, but of society 
in general. 

Then there were the docs: Kate Davis' 
Southern Comfort, Trembling Before G-d by 
Sandi Simcha DuBowski, Tom Shepard's 
Scout's Honor, and Dogtown and Z-Boys by 
skateboard legend Stacy Peralta. The 
competition among documentary direc- 
tors was more than stiff this year, it was 
downright fierce. 

Although it was supposed to be the 
year of African American films at 
Sundance, in my opinion that title was 
usurped by films with gay- oriented 
themes. Practically everything I saw had 
some kind of gay angle to it, whether it 
was the audience award-winner Hedwig or 
Trembling. The annual gay and lesbian 
brunch seemed almost redundant this 
year, because any brunch you went to was 
gay. This had to be the first year Sundance 



ever held a shabbat dinner hosted by a gay 
rabbi. It's a shame I'm primarily hetero- 
sexual, because I was so inspired that I 
wanted to come out of the closet. The 
unfortunate thing is that some great 
African American films, such as Vanessa 
Middleton's 30 Years to Life and Cheryl 
Dunye's Stranger Inside, seemed overshad- 
owed by all this gay pride. One notable 
exception was DeMane Davis and Khari 
Streeter's Lift, which succeeded in getting 
its due props from the media. 

This was not a good year, however, for 
Hollywood, both in terms of finding films 
that will make a lot of money at the box 
office (though my suspicion is that Hedwig 
and the Angry Inch will be a glowing 
exception) and also for celebrity/studio- 
backed films. Donnie Darko producer 
Drew Barrymore, Caveman s Valentine star 
Samuel Jackson, and even the mighty 
Mick Jagger, co-producer of Enigma, all 
stood on the sidelines and watched their 
team get mauled by a bunch of first-time 
film directors like Hedwig s John Cameron 
Mitchell and neophyte actors like Believer 
star Ryan Gosling. In that sense, 
Sundance 2001 was a proud moment for 
indie film, which boldly re-asserted its 
reputation for excellence and controversy. 

On that note, in the spirit of The 
Independents Sundance awards list that 
has run in past issues, I would like to keep 
the tradition alive by providing my very 
own awards list. So here goes: 

I've come to accept that every year 
there is a film that I think is a total bore, 
but everyone else thinks is a work of 
genius. Last year it was Ken Lonergan's 
You Can Count on Me. So this year's You 
Can Count on Me Award goes to Todd 
Field's In the Bedroom. If you liked You 
Can Count on Me, you'll probably love this 
film. Personally, I was sitting in the audi- 
ence, thinking to myself, "Any kid who 
wears jeans like that should be shot." 
Then he was. Go figure. 

Speaking of bad fashion, my award for 
Most Misguided Documentary goes to 
Startup.com, a film filled with horrendous 
fashion. To me, it shows a generation at its 
worst (and I don't just mean clothing- 
wise) . I nearly lost it when Kaleil Tuzman, 
one of the film's main subjects, said with a 
straight face that he had to go and medi- 
tate on whether to call the company 
"HailCaesar.com" or "GovWorks.com." I 



16 THE INDEPENDENT April 2001 



mean, hello? Can you say no-brainerl 
Chris Hegedus, who co-directed Startup.- 
com withjehane Noujaim (and previously 
The War Room, a renowned doc about the 
Clinton campaign, with husband D.A. 
Pennebaker) , seems to be extremely mis- 
guided with this film. "I think these 
young people had a lot of the same ideal- 
ism that I saw early on in the Clinton 
campaign," she told me. Christ! I hope 
not! These are spoiled kids who think 
they deserve to be overnight billionaires 
for coming up with a way to pay parking 
tickets online, then screw their friends 
and investors when things go bad. 

My award for Un-Indie Spirit this year 
goes to Artisan, who copped a serious 
attitude at me at the screening of the 



/* •- 



fit 



4- 



Sandi Simcha DuBowski's Trembling before G-d 

above bad film, then threatened legal 
action against director Marc Levin if he 
showed his film Brooklyn Babylon as the 
opening night selection at Slamdance. He 
did it anyway. Nice one! See you in jail, 
man. And this from the company that 
released The Cruise! I think Speed 
Levitch would be inclined to use the term 
"anti-cruise" here. 

Speaking of Levitch, who makes a 
cameo in Waking Life, I give him Best 
Performance by a Cartoon Character. I 
also congratulate Richard Linklater on 
not only providing the closest thing I've 
ever had to an acid trip without being on 
LSD, thanks to his trippy animated film 
Waking Life, but also with Best Promo 
Swag — the Waking Life coloring book, 
which I colored in for days whilst suffer- 
ing from influenza. 

The Marc Singer (Dark Days) Award 
for Dedication is shared by two first-time 
directors, Edet Belzberg and Sandi 
Simcha DuBowski. Belzberg delved below 
the streets of Bucharest for Children 
Underground, a jarring documentary on 
Romanian street children, working in 
nightmarish conditions, contracting sca- 
bies, and living in squalor along with her 



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Paul Franklin Dano stars as a disaffected Long Island youth in Michael Cuesta's well-regarded LIE. 



subjects. Sandi DuBowski's Trembling 
Before G-d is, likewise, documentary at its 
best. DuBowski was 24 years old when he 
began his project. He carried a camera 
around the world for five years, docu- 
menting gay and lesbian orthodox Jews, 
and investigated what the Torah and rab- 
bis have to say about homosexuality. The 
result will hopefully change (and perhaps 
even save) many people's lives. 

Best Reason for Making a Film goes 
to Swedish director Lukas Moodysson, for 
Tillsammans (Together). Moodysson, who 
previously directed Show Me Love (aka 
Fucking Amal), said he made Together 
because he wanted to make a movie 
"where everyone wore beards." Much 
more than that, however, Together is a 
hilarious and beautifully poetic film about 
life in a Swedish commune during the 
early seventies. It also wins my award for 
Most Overlooked Film (as foreign films 
generally are at Sundance) and shares 
Best Soundtrack with Hedwig. I wrote 
"ABBA" on my hand and left it there for a 
week so I would remember to pick up a 
CD with "S.O.S." on it. 

Which brings me to L.I.E. and a first- 
rate performance by 15-year-old Paul 
Franklin Dano as a youngster growing up 
in a suburb off the Long Island 
Expressway who adopts a pederast named 
"Big John" as a father figure. This is the 
best love story since Verlaine shot his 
young lover Rimbaud in Belgium in 1873. 
It's Kids meets M;y Own Private Idaho, and 
it wins the Chuck and Buck Award for 



Challenging Cinema. 

Finally, a new category: the Trans- 
sexual Cowboy Love Story Award, 

which I present to Southern Comfort, in 
memory of Robert Eads. A truly great film 
that went straight for the heart, rather 
than for the obvious or for shock value, 
Southern Comfort also claimed the 
Documentary Grand Jury Prize at 
Sundance, and will be screening on HBO 
in November. The film tells the story of 
transgendered people living in Georgia 
and their struggles, but more importantly, 
of their ability to love and help one anoth- 
er through the hardest of times. 

People have been saying for years 
that Sundance has sold out — that it's no 
longer "indie" or that indie film itself has 
gone mainstream. Well, this year proved 
them dead wrong on ail counts, as any of 
the above films bears witness. Whether or 
not the festival should remain in Park 
City is a matter of some debate (the 
Village Voice and others reported that 
organizers are considering moving to a 
new location), and the celebs and 
paparazzi may come and go depending on 
the vogue. But for now, anyway, Sundance 
is filling a vital need by providing a venue 
for some of the best filmmaking in the 
world, be it independent or otherwise. 
And for that, my hat is off to them. 

Richard Baimbridge is a militant socialist and 

contributing editor at The Independent. AH 

hate mail should be addressed to scott@aivf.org. 



18 THE INDEPENDENT April 2001 



Energizing the Independent Vision 

The Sundance Online Film Festival 



Where will the purest independent 
vision prevail? Many say online, with 
web-specific projects. Optimistically, 
even romantically, the Sundance 
Institute inaugurated its new exhibition 
venue, the Sundance Online Film 
Festival [www.sundanceonlinefilmfesti- 
val.org] , as an affirmation of this belief. 
While "independent film" may be an 
increasingly commercialized and compli- 
cated category, online exhibition gets us 
back to the single artist, a computer, and 
the untainted Idea. 

It's a compelling scenario, backlit with 
all kinds of contradictions. The physical 
Sundance Film Festival, of course, is the 
Nike of film fests, with branding power 
that can bulldoze a path of exposure for 
the meekest of entrants. Extending the 
power to the digital terrain makes perfect 
sense. 

In fact, two featured works in the 
online festival, Rocket Pants and Freeware, 
made online exhibition deals with 
Sputnik7.com. Atomfilms and IFILM 
were actively hovering around others as 
the physical festival drew to a close. 
Some pieces in the festival previously 
played on web sites like PitchTV, Mondo, 
and Wild Brain. In other words, can the 
Sundance Online Film Festival become 
the digital marketplace counterpart to 
the physical festival, which as we all 
know can catapult a small film into the 
big time? 

As entertainment dot-coms panic and 
eat their young, the Sundance platform 
for online exhibition may prove to be just 
the sort of safe haven digital artistry 
needs while the industry settles into a 
viable norm. Available for viewing only 
through February 28, the original idea 
was to extend the physical festival's halo 
with online exhibition. One "viewers' 
award" was announced in March. 

The festival's scope and goals were 
ambitious. In Sundance programmer R. J. 
Millard's words, the online festival 
sought works that were "web-specific, 
visionary, with an authentic voice and 
individualized storytelling . . . the most 



BY KA REN VOSS 

unique projects in existence." "Web-spe- 
cific" meant the work had to exploit artis- 
tic possibilities uniquely available on the 
Internet. Otherwise, Millard explained, it 
would probably be a regular short that 
belonged in the shorts competition. 

The broadness of the criteria was meant 
to match the broadest possible indepen- 
dent vision. They received over 300 sub- 
missions, subsequently winnowed down to 
18. These fell into Live Action, Inter- 
active, and Animation categories. The 
longest project ran for 17 minutes and the 
shortest for two. The aesthetic range rep- 
resented in the group got you right to the 
heart of the war over online film form. 

On the one hand, you had visceral, 
potent animation, narrative and not. The 
hauntingly beautiful binlOsex, for example, 
put writhing nudes in orb spaces to express 
(as stated in the catalogue) "both the ele- 
gant and physical reality of sex." Maty 
Milos followed in the rich, poetic fable- 
making of Eastern European puppet films. 
Qrime, an aesthetic and graphic melange 
reminiscent of Pac Man and Oskar 
Fischinger put to jazz, enthralled with 
scrolling Latin and malevolent snowmen. 

Freeware was a sexy, super-amped 3-D 
CG cyber-noir. Gone Bad, Fishbar: Violence 
of the Lambs, Romanov: Scarf Mania, 
Rocketpants, Julius and Friends, and Great 
Big Cartoony Club Show illustrated the full 
continuum of humor and computer- 
enabled animation. Put these together and 
you've got the definitive primer for anima- 
tion software, effects, and rendering. 

On the other hand, the Interactive cat- 
egory took you into uncharted territory. 
Amy Talkington's The New Arrival uti- 
lizesd360-degree immersive technology. 
Your computer sucked up iVideo Play 
enablers, and suddenly you were in an 
environment you could rotate on a 360- 
degree axis. To Talkington's credit, what 
you might assume would be a mini-block- 
buster space was deployed for something 
much subtler, craftier, and more allusive. 

The Crazy Bloody Female Center (by 
Nina Menkes) and Masteries and Desire: 
Searching the Worlds of John Rechy (Marsha 




The beleaguered Little Milosh In 
Maly Milos, an animated entry by 
Jakub Pistecky. 



Kinder) came 
out of the pro- 
vocative, ex- 
perimental 
Labyrinth 
Project at the 
University of 
Southern Cal- 
ifornia. What 
was available 
in the online 
fest were actu- 
ally 15-minute 
excerpts from 

fully interactive CD-Roms. Each in vary- 
ing ways crafted multiple narrative pas- 
sages, dense image poetry, and, it was 
hoped, wider choices in viewing and par- 
ticipating in story. 

Daddie, in filmmaker OB. Cooke's 
words, was a "digital fluid painting." He 
put digital stills of himself angst-ridden in 
a continual loop under a heart-wrenching 
voiceover. The jerky, tormented, digital 
artifact-laden effect got under your skin. 
Throwing the visual and aural tracks in 
different but poetic directions made it 
painterly in a specifically digital way. 

UntitledOOl: Darkness was a contempo- 
rary variation of the group games the 
Surrealists would play (specifically the 
Exquisite Corpse, where participants would 
fold a paper and draw one part of a figure 
without seeing anybody else's contribu- 
tion). A high- end digital design firm in 
California, Belief, started a multi-firm pro- 
ject where each anonymously contributed 
a digital component on the theme of 
"darkness." They plan to do this serially. 
"Infinity" is next year's theme. 

The rest were as different as online 
films could be, but fleshed out Sundance's 
open arms to the range of online content. 
Meep Meepf was like emotional agitprop, 
precise and potent as a bullet. The Mullet 
Chronicles was probably the most commer- 
cial entry, but undeniably funny: it was a 
documentary series about seeking the per- 
fect mullet, the haircut that's long in the 
back and short in the front. Webdreamer, a 
short digital video documentary, posed 
this question to its subjects, "Do you 
dream about the web?" 

And this, perhaps, is the question 
Sundance ultimately poses to you. 

Karen Voss i$ a journalist and producer for the 
American Film Institute's New Media Ventures 

Department. 



\ r ..l 2001 THE INDEPENDENT 19 






LAB Experiments 




by Patricia Thomson 




GONE FISHING: The Sundance Institute watering hole, 
where lab screenwriters & directors can take some R&R 
between rewrites, production, and editing sessions. 

It was a bounty crop this year for 
films from the Sundance Institute's 
Feature Film Labs. Ten lab projects got 
into the festival line-up — a record num- 
ber. They were a motley crew, ranging 
from John Cameron Mitchell's crowd- 
pleasing transexual musical Hedwig and 
the Angry Inch to Cory McAbee's low- 
tech cowboys-in-space saga American 
Astronaut to Randy Redford's poetic 
Native American coming- of-age story 
Doe Boy. So what exactly is a "lab film," 
and what advantages do they have in the 
overall scheme of things? 

About 15-20 films per year participate 
in the labs, held since 1983 at Robert 
Redford's Sundance resort in the 
Wasatch mountains. The cycle begins in 
January with the Screenwriters Lab, for 
which 800 to 1,000 submissions get win- 
nowed down to 12 projects. About halt of 
these, plus some fresh entries, move onto 
the next phase, the Filmmaking Lab in 
June. Following shortly on its heels is a 
summertime Producers Lab, another 
Screenwriters Lab, and a Composers Lab. 

Each is an intensive training ground 
where first-time feature filmmakers work 
closely with a rotating group of profes- 



sional advisors. There's nothing quite like 
it in the film world, and in fact the labs 
are based on a theater model, the Eugene 
O'Neill Theater Center in Waterford, 
Connecticut. Unlike film schools, the labs 
focus on helping filmmakers with a specif- 
ic project. "It's more practical," says Dan 
Minahan, who attended the 1996 labs 
with Series 7: The Contenders along with 
his lead actress, Brooke Smith. "You're lit- 
erally putting up scenes and shooting 
them right away. You have a whole crew, 
you're working with real actors. You have 
an art department, a camera department, 
lighting and grip people." 

Writers and directors are able to work 
on problem scenes in a safe, supportive, 
alpine environment far from the madding 
crowd. "It's small, intimate, far away from 
the pressures of day-to-day life," says 
Michelle Satter, who has been running 
the labs since the beginning. "Everything's 
taken care of: you've got your housing, 
your food, and an environment which is 
incredibly stimulating. No one's pushing 
you to come out with a reel — which is 
what some film schools are about, that 
thesis film or script to sell. We're not 
about results. Sundance is completely 
about process and discovery." 

It's also about community. Each night 
during the Filmmakers Lab, everyone 
gathers to watch fresh footage by a fellow 
lab participant. "Everybody cheers, and 
everybody laughs — you know, in the 
wrong places," says Minahan. "So you 
make a fool of yourself in front of all your 
peers, and then it gets a lot easier. Because 
of what we were doing — I was really try- 
ing to find the tone of [Series 7] , trying to 
make it seem like TV, but work as a 
movie — we were encouraged to experi- 
ment a lot. The good thing is it was really 
a great place to experiment. It was still 
scary and intimidating, but if you fucked 
up, people would love you even more." 

Contacts made during the workshops 
endure long after the cycle is complete. 
Both Satter and the lab advisors are avail- 
able for consultation throughout the gen- 
esis of a film. Patrick Stettner, for one, 
took advantage of Satter's open door pol- 



icy while making The Business of Strangers 
(a 1999 lab project). "I would call and 
ask, 'Do I have the right lawyer? Where 
do I get a lawyer? Should I talk to agents 
now? Should I talk to agents later?' The 
questions come streaming out, you know," 
he laughs. "Michelle is really helpful in 
that regard, and I never feel like I'm bug- 
ging her, even though I know I am." 

Satter and her staff make it a policy to 
stay involved. They will call a writer to 
ask when his or her next draft is ready. 
Advisors will look at a director's rough 
cut and offer feedback. Satter will pick up 
the phone to get an actor interested in a 
script, as she did with Julia Stiles, who 
wound up being the young co-star of The 
Business of Strangers. 

The labs can also be a critical bridge to 
financing. Sometimes it happens serendi- 
pitously, as when Stettner started hanging 
out with fellow filmmakers David Siegel 
and Scott McGehee at the 1999 lab. In 
addition to working on their own project, 
The Deep End codirectors were there 
looking for scripts for their new produc- 
tion company, called i5. McGehee had 
some interest from a studio, but says, "We 
left them to go with [i5] because this was 
independent financing. It was great, 
because they allowed me to make my own 
film." 

On other occasions, Satter will play 
matchmaker between director and 
financier. She helped hook up the co- 
directors of Lift, DeMane Davis and Khari 
Streeter, with their eventual producers, 
executive producers, and financing. She 
also played a quiet part in getting Series 7 
to the attention of Blow Up Pictures' 
Jason Kliot and Joana Vicente, calling to 
give them a heads-up about the project. 
"They may have gotten to them on their 
own," she notes, and indeed Minahan 
says he met Kliot through director Tony 
Bui, "but I think projects also need that 
phone call, saying 'Pay attention to this 
project, and here's why.' " 

Recently Satter has been working hard 
to develop donated services that can help 
nudge lab projects along. Panavision now 
lends two to three camera packages a year, 
Kodak donates film stock, Avid con- 
tributes editing systems to selected pro- 
jects, and Pacific Title offers its services. 
In addition, Maryland Producers Club 
provides bridge grants of up to $10,000. 
Who gets what is determined by "need at 



20 THE INDEPENDENT April 2001 



a particular moment, and the readiness of 
the project," says Satter. But with virtual- 
ly every lab project, she asserts, "We're 
very, very proactive." 

That is, until it comes to the Sundance 
Film Festival. Only a small portion of 
completed lab films get into festival. 
Those directors who make the cut are 
sensitive about the perception of 
favoritism, while those that don't say the 
festival bends over backwards not to seem 




Director Dan Minahan (I) 
confers with Creative 
Advisor Allen Daviau 
about striking the right 
tone for his reality TV 
send-up, Series 7. 



seme* 7 



biased, making the odds harder for them. 
According to Satter, lab and festival 
staffers frequently share notes about film- 
makers to watch. But it's clear the traffic 
doesn't flow evenly down this street. 

"Geoff [Gilmore] will come into my 
office and say, 'There's this really great 
filmmaker you must meet; he may be 
great for the lab.' Or [John] Cooper might 
say, 'I saw a great short.' At the same time, 
I'll say go to them and say, 'I just saw a 
film from the lab, and it's really good.' 
And they'll say, 'Sure, thank you,' " Satter 
says, mimicking a dull tone of perfunctory 
interest. She laughs, knowing her powers 
are limited here. But she needn't worry 
about whether the labs have a lasting 
impact on their filmmakers. 

"For me, it was a dream come true," 
Minahan says of the whole experience. 
"Writing is so solitary. Now I have this 
group of friends that I can bounce stuff off 
of in a collegial way." His memories and 
contacts hold strong. "I didn't want to 
leave." 

Independent editor in chief Patricia Thomson is 

a 1 0-year veteran of the cold and damp 

Sundance Film Festival and would love to visit 

the labs' mountain lake under a summer sky. 





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April 2001 THE INDEPENDENT 21 



Fast, Cheap, and Chemically Treated 

Post Industrial Mediamaking 

inBVFFALO 

by Ghen Dennis & Stephanie Gray 



There is no motion picture processing 
lab near Buffalo, New York. Perhaps this 
is one reason why the city seems to breed 
low-budget, lo-fi acts of mediamaking 
ingenuity. This spirit engenders the on- 
going three-minute film shows at 
Squeaky Wheel, a media artist access 
center in Buffalo. These events prompt 
local makers to create work cheap, fast, 
and sometimes dirty. They bring the com- 
munity together and have helped revital- 
ize a dynamism toward creating new 
media work. 

It all began back in 1998. I [Ghen 
Dennis] had just seen Stephen Kent 
Jusick's NY Mix Festival pro- 
gram "Illicit Acts," a frenetic 
show of 8-gauge films depict- 
ing in about three minutes 
just that — the illicit act — 
with many filmmakers taking 
chances with fate and pro- 
cessing, drying and spooling 
their entries in Anthology 
Film Archives' projection 
booth moments before they 
passed through the projector 
gate. In the same festival, 
filmmaker Maia Cybelle 
Carpenter presented a program of chemi- 
cally manipulated, chewy and silvery 
films that were exclusively hand- 
processed. Following the screening she 
distributed a dense packet of chemical 
recipes and artist manifestos arguing for 
the element of chance, controlled beauty, 
and the renegade nature of processing 
one's own film. 

Armed with Carpenter's hand-process- 
ing recipes and the memory of "Illicit 
Acts," I organized Squeaky Wheel's first 
super 8 weekend workshop. Two consec- 
utive days of shooting and processing film 
culminated in a public screening of the 
work, alongside like films gathered 
through a national open call. Local first- 
time processors presented work as a sort 
of visual dialogue with nationally recog- 



nized artists like Ken Paul Rosenthal III, a 
manifesto author himself and lively par- 
ticipant in the exchange of information 
about chemical experiments, exhibition 
opportunities, and audiences for such 
filmmaking. 
The reward of 
the first Hand- 
processed Film 
Show was in its 
immediacy and 
its marriage of 
Squeaky 
Wheel's com- 
munity out- 



one's personal identification with her. 
Participants were given free access to 
point-and-shoot super 8 cameras, a roll of 
film or videotape, and processing lessons 
in exchange for their efforts. In the spirit 
of the event, editing was not encouraged. 
The Joan of Arc Festival audience fast 
became the Joan of Arc Festival artists 
and vice versa. The participants — some 
film veterans, some first-timers — gathered 
their thoughts and friends, shot their 
visions, loaded their exposed films into 
light-tight tanks in Squeaky Wheel's 
video editing suite, took over the office's 
kitchen sink with toxic chemistry bottles, 
and strung their 
films to dry like 
fresh spaghetti 

under the furnace 
near the executive 
director's desk. 
Failed film pro- 



The screening became an 

Event, an interactive sort of 

Happening that opened up a 

new exchange between artists 

in and outside of Buffalo. 



reach and exhibition programs. 

This event inspired more. Last year, 
Squeaky Wheel initiated open call 
screenings of work that's three minutes 
long and addresses an assigned topic. 
"Burned! Three Minute Films About 
Joan of Arc" was the first such event, 
held when Buffalo's Hag Theatre, 
Hallwalls, and Squeaky Wheel teamed up 
to program a Joan of Arc Festival. Along 
with live theater and screenings of obvi- 
ous film titles by the likes of Carl Dreyer 
and Ulrike Ottinger and less obvious 
works by directors like Pierro Heliczer, 
Squeaky Wheel engaged the festival 
audience by inviting them to be 
impromptu filmmakers. The challenge 
was to make and show a short film relat- 
ed to the social history of Joan of Arc or 




Top: "What are you running from?" Run, by Chris 
Borlowski; Hello Buffalo to You, by Ghen Dennis. Both 
screened in the Streets Closed for Demolition Show. 



cessing attempts were swiftly doctored up 
with paint, scratches, and Rit dye, some- 
times to become expressionistic accompa- 
niments to live improv narrations that 
formed the intended original content. A 
national call for short works on Joan then 
yielded fantastic submissions by dislocat- 
ed Buffalo filmmakers (e.g., Keith 
Sanborn's Mirror) and others. The screen- 
ing became an Event, an interactive sort 
of Happening, that opened up a new 
exchange between artists in and outside of 
Buffalo. The exhibition space was our new 
church. 

Next came "The Love and Sex Show: 
Three Minute Films About Love and 
Sex," presented on Valentine's Day last 
year and again this year. Okay, so audi- 
ence outreach and production inspiration 
for love and sex is easy. Folks were fero- 



22 THE INDEPENDENT April 2001 



F 



SUPERl 
FILM 1 

Recipe for a 3:30 Film 

Three and a half minutes is the approximate length of one 50 ft 
super 8 film cartridge. * roll can be shot by either an amateur or 
■hardened filmmaker with a point-and-shoot super 8 camera o mge- 
■ nioas ends. Hand-processing one cartridge of super ftJWC^ 
a Kodak Direct Positive T-Max Kit and some f xer takes approxi- 
mately one hour, costs roughly $6 per roll, and can be done any- 
where with a sink, changing bag, and a clothesline. I one : doe. not 
opt for the splicer (and one shouldn't, lest the f.lm be too short) 
the three and a half minute film Is complete when dry. Or when 
projected, performed, and witnessed by an aud.ence. 




cious in their response to the open call, 
and the cinema was again crowded for 
the confessions of longing, true love, raw 
desire, visual sensuality, cynical humor, 
and life stories. For love and sex, old cam- 
eras were dusted off and old collaborators 
reunited. Terry Klein and Julie Zando 
teamed up and rented a room in the 
seedy Paris Hotel on the Niagara Falls 
honeymoon strip to shoot a grimy super 8 
portrait of passion run amok in Two Week 
Disaster. Video artist Jody LaFond's entry, 
Sigh, used recycled outtakes from an 
industrial job shot in a commercial bak- 
ery. Close-ups of strong hands willfully 
massaging small masses of dough were 
juxtaposed with a breathlessly narrated 
three minute history of her entire life's 
romantic encounters. 

Perhaps the most complex program to 
date was "Streets Closed for Demolition: 
Three Minute Films about Life in 
Buffalo." This focused on the experience 




of living in a disenfranchised, post- 
industrial blue-collar town that possesses 
macabre histories, from the Victorians' 
obscene love affair with technological 
inventions like electricity and death [see 
"Number Crunch"] to Love Canal. Local 
media artists crafted love songs to the 
harsh implosions of Buffalo's grand indus- 
trial architecture and corrupt urban plan- 
ning [see "Survival Rant," p. 25]. Chris 
Borkowski's video entry Run was a distort- 
ed self-portrait of himself running through 
the eerily vacated streets of downtown 
Buffalo only to be ironically stopped by 
police who ask "what is he doing down- 
town and what is he running from?" The 
soundtrack of his hard breathing was hyp- 
notically ambient against the urban quiet 
until the police punctuate the silence and 
thus the narrative. Video artist Meg 
Knowles' entry cut between the extermi- 
nation of a rat under her stove and the 
implosion of a downtown building ren- 
dered as an act of God with 
an appropriated narration 
describing the hardships of 
puberty. Anne Borden and 
Gail Mentlik documented 
in single frames the building 
of a Starbucks and the com- 
munity's loyalty to local cof- 
fee houses. Life in this suf- 
fering urban economy was 
interpreted, defined, and 

Love & Sex Show entry The Abduction, 
by Sandra Boero-lmwinkelried. 



BUFFALO NUMBER CRUNCH 

Nation's leading industrial city, port, and immigra- 
tion capital circa 1900: Buffalo 

Population of Buffalo c. 1900: 800,000-1 million 

Population of Buffalo c. 2000: 300,000 

Average number of paid snow days to foster your 
creativity: 5 

Likelihood your street will be plowed after a snow- 
storm: unlikely 

Average annual ticket fees paid for parking on the 
snow side of the street even in July: $300 

Elephant electrocuted at Buffalo's 1900 Pan Amer- 
ican Expo: Jumbo 

First person to die in the electric chair: Buffalonian 
William Kemmler in 1890 

Buffalo Sheriff and hangman who went to become a 
U.S. president: Graver Cleveland 

Average monthly Niagara Mohawk electric bill: $24 

Cost of monthly Metro Transportation pass: $44 

Monthly rent for 2000' sq loft work space: $400 

Monthly rent for a 5-bdrm apartment with studio 
attic: $500 

Breakfast at Amy's Place (Lebanese American 
diner): 990 

Greek Omelette Special at local Greek diner: $1.99 

Average number of Greek diners per square block: 2 

Average cost of a shiny vintage bicycle: $25 

1950s formica table with 4 matching chairs: $19 

Likelihood you'll have a picnic on the downtown 
Lake Erie waterfront-, unlikely 

Chances of finding functioning film equipment in the 
gutter on trash day: very good 

Likelihood you'll attend a branch library film sale: 
pretty likely 

Cost of Kenneth Anger's Kustom Kar Komandos at 
such a sale: $5 

Chances of seeing a city building or grain elevator 
imploded: pretty good 

Time it takes to fly to New York City: 1 hour 

Time it takes to drive to the Honeymoon capital of 
the world: 35 minutes 

First person to survive Niagara Falls in a barrel: 
63-year-old Annie Taylor in 1901 

Words uttered upon emerging: "One ought not to do 
that again." 

Day of the week one is most likely witness a suicide 
jump into Niagara Falls: Monday 

Most likely to retrieve failed barrel jumpers: The 
Maid of the Mist tourist boat 

Cost of a Maid of the Mist boat ride ; $8.50 

Blue plastic raincoat: free to keep 

— Stephanie Gray & Ghen Dennis 



April 2001 THE INDEPENDENT 23 



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KNEAD YOU: From lody LaFond's Love & Sex Show entry, 
Sigh, in which breathless commentary on the filmmaker's 
love life is coupled with footage from a bakery industrial. 

digested. Notions of daily existence were 
transferred back and forth from the 
screen to the audience through visual and 
verbal treatises on harsh weather condi- 
tions and the tension between enduring 
the situation and longing to escape it. As 
Tony Conrad put it in Buffalo is a Verb, "If 
you haven't left Buffalo yet, why aren't 
you dead?" 

The latest screening, "The Dysfunc- 
tional Holiday Show," garnered the most 
responses thus far from out of state while 
competing with the "Love and Sex Show" 
for local enthusiasm. These three -minute 
works, most often a bit sacrilegious, fea- 
tured Tony Conrad homesteading Los 
Angeles for Buffalo, Kelly Spivey's 
(among others) alcoholic holiday binges, 
alarming familial holiday memories, and 
digital artist Barbara Lattanzi dissecting a 
childhood photograph into a Rubik's cube 
with an absurdist auditory accompani- 
ment. "The Dysfunctional Holiday Show" 
proved that the usual consumptive non- 
profit art center holiday party can be 
turned into a productive process of mak- 
ing and exhibiting strong media work. 

Solarized, chemically processed, and 
degenerated film images resulting from 
processing experiments are the perfect 
vehicles for expressing love, industrial 
decay, rust belt restlessness, and holiday 
dysfunction swiftly and cheaply. These 
efficient and smart gems of experimental 
film, video, and digital art are very often 
strong enough to live outside their origi- 
nal thematic context. Many have gone on 
to national festivals, thereby maintaining 
an on-going exchange of ideas between 
Buffalo and all places not Buffalo. 

Ghen Dennis [ghen66@hotmail.com] is a 

filmmaker working as the program director at 

Squeaky Wheel. Stephanie Gray 

[bluespool@hotmail.com] is a poet and 

filmmaker working as a grant writer in Buffalo. 



24 THE INDEPENDENT April 2001 



Survival Rant 

Making a 3:30 film 
in downtown Buffalo. 



by Stephanie Gray 

SO ANOTHER HISTORICAL BUILDING IS 
going to be senselessly imploded on 
October 31, 1999. To : make what? A new 
parking lot for a chain hotel, one that 
probably won't survive Buffalo's crum- 
bling downtown economy anyway. What 
am I — a below-the-poverty-level-bike- 
riding-super 8-heroine — going to do 
about it this time? Am I going to make a 
hand-processed super 8 love letter that 
pays tribute to all my favorite buildings 
that I worry might be torn down and sub- 
mit it to Squeaky Wheel's annual "Love 
& Sex Show," as I did last year? Am I 
going to take my lone body and scream at 
the top of my lungs in protest at City 
Hall? No. This time I suppose I'll do what 
I've always done with this city, which is to 
obsessively and poetically find a way to 
document this most recent act of destruc- 
tion from somewhere up high, and do so 
before the police completely block access 
to the disaster area. I try to hide in a park- 
ing lot stairwell. No use. They find me. 
Luckily I have my bike, which, unlike 
cars, is not prohibited in the protective 
radius. I lock it to a Stop sign, then stop 
an official TV crew which was granted 
access to the top of the M&T Bank tower 
to ask if I can tag along. Friendly, but not 
helpful, the camera guy says why don't I 
just ask the security guard myself? 
Wearing my Termite TV T-shirt, I plead 
with the security guard that I am with an 
important TV show and have been 
assigned to document this event. To my 
disbelief, he buys my story and sends me 
up the elevator with the TV crews and 
rich guys affiliated with the bank, who 
own various companies conducting the 
demolition. I pick floor 14 and get my 
camera ready for slow motion. When I 
start some preliminary shooting, everyone 
stares at the noise; they wonder, what is 
that noise? — is that some kinda old cam- 
era? Uh, yes, I say, it's a super 8 camera. 
They stare at me quizzically, but eventu- 
ally regain interest in the impending 



countdown. A faulty countdown ensues, 
then a thunderous roar, and I record the 
several-second event at 48 frames per sec- 
ond, almost using my whole roll of film. 
Luckily I brought two. Everyone still looks 
at me like, how did I even get up here? 
Afterwards, I hop on my bike and head off 
for Squeaky Wheel to process the assassi- 
nated building. I later exhibit this film, 
Demo-Listen, at Squeaky Wheel, with a 
voiceover slamming gentrification, anti- 
preservation, and corporate greed. 





Destruction at 48 frames per second in Demo-Listen, 
by Stephanie Gray. 



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April 2001 THE INDEPENDENT 25 



Rocky Road 

Public Access in Buffalo 



There's a deep connection 
between city politics and the fate 
of public access in towns across 
the country. While the story of 
Buffalo's public access is local, it 
provides a 
picture of the 
dynamics and 
tensions that 
occur between access facilities 
and city governments nationwide 
— over questions of management, 
funding levels, and how to handle 
controversial content. 



J^PfiMHEHS 



by Carl Mrozek 



Even lifelong residents who love 
Buffalo dearly have to admit that it often 
takes a bit longer for national trends to 
reach their city. There are a few notable 
exceptions, however, like public access 
TV. 

Depending on how you define it, pub- 
lic access has been around in Buffalo for 
over 20 years and may owe its early birth 
to a politician who viewed public access 
as a community resource from the outset. 
"I started public access in the late seven- 
ties," says James Pitts, Buffalo city coun- 
cil president and longtime chair of the 
telecommunications committee, which 
manages the city's cable franchise agree- 
ments and PEG (public, education, gov- 
ernment) access programs. "Back then 
there was no studio, no equipment, just 
part-time channel space. There were no 
[community] producers, so a lot of the 
early programming was PR, talk shows, 
and odds and ends." Pitts is an imposing 



figure, renowned for his bow ties 
and political prowess. He finished 
second in the last mayoral elec- 
tion, and, as someone in his third 
decade serving in City Hall, he is a 
force to be reckoned with. 

Pitts' long close association with 
public access TV underlies its 
political nature in Buffalo. Ever 
since the inception of cable access 
in Buffalo, City Hall has had a 
firm grasp on its purse strings, as 
cable franchisee fees targeted for 
operation of public access have 
always been deposited into the 
city's general fund rather than 
into a dedicated public access 
account. It is no secret that Pitts 
has paid more attention to public 
access than any current or former 
Buffalo politician, and many 
believe he is the invisible hand 
behind all city policy on cable TV 
in general and public access in 
particular. As such, he can be 
credited with its staying on the air during 
good times and bad, including changes in 
administration and cable franchises. 
Channel 18's durability has enabled 
numerous edgy access shows to now be in 
their second decade of broadcast — shows 
like Art Waves (featuring music, art, and 
theater, mainly at Hallwalls), Axle Grease 
(independent video and film), Roger 
Heymanowsky (Buffalo's Charlie Rose), 
Focus on Women (a women's talk show), 
and the controversial Thunderbird 
Theater (a man in a ski mask with a 
strong anti-Catholic point of view griping 
about local news and personal issues) . 

Pitts is also largely responsible for 
Buffalo's tradition of independent man- 
agement of public access. Among other 
things, this has kept the city from being 
sued by citizens irate over the content of 
a handful of shows by having an indepen- 
dent group draw the brunt of the fire. 
However, the organizations that stepped 



up to the plate have all been burned by 
the city when they ran into difficulties or 
failed to meet unspecified expectations. 
All were tossed into the bonfire when 
they became too difficult to manage or 
outlived their political expediency. But all 
faced a difficult path, being forced to walk 
an economic tightrope stretched between 
their long-term goals as outlined in their 
management proposals, and the political 
reality of a budget tightly controlled by 
city hall. 

One effect of this bipolar history has 
been to normalize turmoil and turnover in 
Buffalo's public access program. The 
other has been to discourage groups with 
germane media and administrative back- 
grounds, but short on financial and polit- 
ical clout, from applying for the dubious 
privilege of administering Buffalo's public 
access system. 

As might be expected, public access has 
fallen into disarray after each change of 
the guard. Access to equipment and facil- 
ities has been radically reduced or cur- 
tailed, leaving producers and programs in 
the lurch, with reruns the order of the day. 
Thousands of dollars of access equipment 
has been lost or destroyed between 
administrations. This has compelled each 
new manager to budget for sizable capital 
outlays for equipment and physically 
rebuild the program from scratch. "We 
inherited a mess," recalls Robie Butler, the 
executive director of Buffalo Neighbor- 
hood Network (BNN), a nonprofit spin- 
off of the media arts center Squeaky 
Wheel, which submitted a successful 
management proposal. "We had piles of 
equipment to repair, much of it junk. We 
set up editing suites in the basement of a 
building undergoing major repairs while 
paying steep rent. We also had to buy a lot 
of new equipment — digital cameras, 
VTRs, and editing systems — in order to 
get the program back on its feet." 

The Sunship Years 

Independent administration of Buffalo's 
public access began in 1987- That year 
the contract to run access went to 
Sunship Communications, a nonprofit 
organization dedicated to African- 
American cultural issues. Sunship started 
with strong support from City Hall, partly- 
due to their commitment to cover major 
community events — a quasi-government 

CONTINUED ON PAGE 28 



26 THE INDEPENDENT April 2001 



Access Meets Art 

Harnessing the Power 
of Video in Niagara 



At first glance, videomaker Paul 
Lamont, sculptress Ellen Steinfeld, and 
poet Joanie Murray don't have a great 
deal in common, other than their roots in 
Western New York. However, each 
received production funds from a small 
video regrant program administered by 
the Niagara Council of the Arts. What 
makes this program so unique is that it 
funds work specifically for public access 
TV. Though the grants are modest — 
$2,500 or less — they go a long way in giv- 
ing mediamakers a leg up. 

According to Carl Schifano, regrant 
coordinator for the Niagara Council of 
the Arts, which redistributes funding from 
the New York State Council for the Arts 
(NYSCA), "We want programs of local 
interest, which are hard to come by. We 
also want to encourage new artists — help 
them get a project under their belt — and 
to build self-confidence. Of course, we 
hope they can develop and go beyond the 
community access sphere, although it's 
not our mandate. Our first goal is to reach 
people in the community, but Western 
New Yorkers are scattered across the 
nation, so we support both objectives." 

Naturally, programs must be of interest 
to Western New Yorkers and, in particu- 
lar, to viewers of Lockport Community 
TV (LCTV), the access channel of 
Adelphia Cable TV. They also must pre- 
miere on LCTV and not exceed 30 min- 
utes. After two cablecasts, the programs 
can be distributed wherever the producer 
chooses. 

Some have managed to make the leap 
to national broadcast. Paul Lamont's 
Fading in the Mist, about the struggle to 
preserve the scenic beauty of Niagara 
Falls, subsequently aired on PBS and won 
national awards. "It took a lot of blood, 
sweat, and tears to get it done, and it 
wouldn't have happened without the 
[Niagara Council of the Arts] grant. I was 
free to pursue my vision," Lamont asserts. 
That vision included an attack on a long 
legacy of crass exploitation of Niagara 
Falls. "It's so hard to get funding for doc- 



umentaries in general, especially regional 
ones," he notes. "It turns out that [this 
topic] has national appeal, and we've sold 
copies all over the country. It's given us a 
track record with PBS and real credibili- 
ty." Lamont and associates have parlayed 
that into a partnership with PBS affiliate 
WNED-Buffalo on a new project, Inland 




One of the success stories: 

Paul Lamont's look at the struggle 

over Niagara, Fading in the Mist. 



v£r 



cal sketches a la Monty Python. Boosted 
by the experience and confidence gained 
through Suitcases, Forman and his collab- 
orators are hoping to land a national TV 
slot for Oatmeal Boys, whose pilot was also 
partly funded by the Niagara Council of 
the Arts. "We've got a lawyer pitching it, 
and we're looking for a theatrical agent," 
Forman says. "The regrant pro- 
gram has been great for us. 
Without it we wouldn't be any- 
where close to being ready to 
produce a comedy series for 
national cable." 

The success of some regrant 
projects is all the more remark- 
able due the program's commit- 
ment to emerging and first-time 
artists. "While we try to support 
production of high-quality 
regional documen- 



Voyage: The Story of the Erie 
Canal. 

According to LCTV access 
coordinator Greg Larson, the 
ability of programs to travel 
after their LCTV cablecast 
"is up to each producer's ini- 
tiative and depends on their 
quality and subject matter. Each producer 
has to make their own arrangements, but 
we'll provide them with a list of contacts." 

Ellen Steinberg, a visual artist whose 
first video, Creating Sculpture for Public 
Space, was produced with regrant funding, 
turned her list into region-wide distribu- 
tion through other cable access programs. 
Steinberg's video documents her creation 
of a large metal sculpture commissioned 
by Roswell Park Cancer Institute of 
Buffalo. She profiled the entire process — 
from design and fabrication through to its 
unveiling, incorporating a variety of reac- 
tions from participants and the public. "I 
contacted the [access] coordinators indi- 
vidually, and most of them requested my 
program," she says. "I could have gotten it 
on access channels across the state and 
beyond, if I had the time and money." 

Chris Forman's Hands Like Suitcases 
also found a regional audience through 
public access, as well as an international 
audience through IFILM.com. A rare 
comedy within the documentary-rich 
regrant program, Hands Like Suitcases laid 
the groundwork for Forman's current 
work, The Oatmeal Boys, a series of satiri- 



"OUR GRANTS 

DON'T PAY THE 

RENT, BUT THEY 

DO ENCOURAGE 

INNOVATION." 



taries and other 
videos our viewers 
otherwise wouldn't 
see, we also sup- 
port newcomers 
with good ideas, 
including those 
without a strong 
video background," LCTV's Larson says. 
"Our grants don't pay the rent, but they 
do encourage innovation." 

A prime example of this is The Saga of 
Annie Taylor, about the first woman to 
plunge over Niagara Falls in a barrel and 
live to tell the tale. At a quick glance, this 
might be dismissed as a traditional docu- 
mentary, but in fact this collaboration of 
videographer Rohesia Metcalf and poet 
Joan Murray blends historical accounts, 
narrative, and several original poems by 
Murray. 

NYSCA is clearly pleased with how the 
regrant program has evolved. "They've 
consistently done a great job with their 
program," says Claude Meyer, director of 
NYSCA's Electronic Media and Film pro- 
gram. "We're always open to proposals to 
support innovative [video] production 
and cable access programming. The 
Niagara County regrant program is 
unique in doing both for so long." 

For further information, contact Carl 
Schifano (716) 284-6188. Annual dead- 
line is in March. 

— CM 



April 2001 THE INDEPENDENT 27 



access function — besides managing pub- 
lic access for producers in the communi- 
ty. "We covered festivals, concerts, and 
other events as a public service, but 
sometimes at the request of city officials," 
recalls Sunship board member Michael 
Hill. "TCI, the cable franchisee, provided 
a large van to haul equipment for remote 
productions, but no additional equipment 
to do it with, so we had to use studio 
gear." 

Despite the best of intentions, Sun- 
ship's commitment to public service came 
to haunt them as the demand for their 
services snowballed, often coming from 
politicians. This created a bottleneck in 
the demand for equipment by access pro- 
ducers. "Because capital expenditures 
were phased in over five years, produc- 
tion equipment was limited," Hill contin- 
ues. "Using it to cover big events tight- 
ened the supply even more, and indepen- 
dent producers often complained about 
difficulty getting equipment when they 
needed it." Hill adds that Sunship took 
all the heat for this dilemma, which in 
fact had been created by tight budgets 
and their unexpected government access 
duties. 

What ultimately sank Sunship's ship- 
was a conflict with City Hall over policy 
and censorship. "The contract called for 
formation of a citizens' advisory board to 
create and administer public access poli- 
cy, but the city never formed one," says 
Hill. "Instead they created policy as we 
went along. When conflicts arose, like 
over how to deal with complaints about 
offensive programs, there was no one to 
mediate between Sunship and the city. 
We took all the heat. When push came to 
shove, all we had to fall back on was a 
contract written by and for the city." 

The city canceled Sunship's contract in 
the middle of its third year, ostensibly 
over a city tax delinquency by Sunship on 
the former studios of WKBW-TV, owned 
by Sunship and used as the access facility. 
Hill believes the city's intransigence on 
back taxes was one factor, but the bigger 
one had to do with how to deal with com- 
plaints about offensive content. One key 
target was the snippets of pornography 
sandwiched into a shock jock- style show 
called Rocky and Dino's Back Alley, which 
was actually produced in New Jersey, but 
repackaged in Buffalo. "The city began 



demanding that Sunship preview pro- 
grams before airing them. With our limit- 
ed staff and budget that wasn't feasible, 
especially since many shows were deliv- 
ered just before going on the air. Still, it 
seemed like all these issues could have 
been worked out, if the city had been will- 
ing to bend a little," Hill reflects. "Instead 
they pulled the plug and left Sunship high 
and dry." 

Hill also believes the city had unrealis- 
tic expectations. "The city wasn't willing 
to fully back Sunship's proposal, financial- 
ly or politically. The capital budget was 
spread over five years, but the expecta- 
tions were there right from the start. We 
tried to build down expectations, but the 
city didn't seem to appreciate what it costs 
to do television at the level they were 
hoping for." 

BCAM Takes the Reins 

It was more than a year before another 
organization, Buffalo Cable Access Media 
(BCAM), was selected to administer the 
public access program in 1992. In its favor, 
BCAM had broader racial and ethnic rep- 
resentation, plus representation from the 
arts, media, and academic communities. 
It also had a savvy, seasoned executive 
director, Sharon Mooney, who was fresh 
from running a successful public access 
facility in Texas. Initially, at least, she had 
the ear and respect of City Hall 

Under Mooney, there was an air of 
optimism about the future of public access 
in Buffalo. Before the year's end, newly 
trained/certified producers had access to a 
moderately well-equipped TV studio, 
editing bays, and an expanding volunteer 
freelance crew pool. A staff of four han- 
dled programming, managed and main- 
tained an expanding equipment pool, and 
provided regular training programs. 
Training, a fair and open access policy, 
and a modest outreach effort brought in 
new producers and diversified the pro- 
gram mix. 

Unfortunately, as with Sunship, the 
honeymoon didn't last long. BCAM's cap- 
ital budget for new equipment was negli- 
gible in their second and third years, pre- 
cisely when they should have been adding 
equipment to serve a growing pool of par- 
ticipants. During this same period, rather 
than augmenting staff to accommodate 
increased demand for services, most staff 



"The city didn't seem to 

appreciate what it costs to do 

television at the level they 

were hoping for." 

— Sunship board member 
Michael Hill 



were reduced to part-time. Producers 
became frustrated and vented their frus- 
tration at BCAM staff. "The city consis- 
tently underestimated the budgetary 
needs of public access. They either don't 
understand what it takes to operate a suc- 
cessful public access program or they 
don't want one," Hill says. 

After a few years of budget battles with 
City Hall and wrangling with disgruntled 
producers, Mooney left for greener pas- 
tures in L.A., leaving a leadership vacu- 
um which split the board over her 
replacement. Ultimately Mooney 's assis- 
tant, Michelle Howard, prevailed with 
City Hall's blessings, despite being the 
least experienced candidate. In barely a 
year the program ran aground when 
Howard was suspected and later convict- 
ed of embezzling funds upwards of 
$25,000. According to city auditors, dou- 
ble that amount vanished during this 
period, sealing the demise of BCAM. 

Phase Three: BNN 

The final blow came when Buffalo's cable 
franchise changed hands, along with own- 
ership of the building in which public 
access studios were housed. Adelphia 
Cable, the new cable provider, had other 
plans for the building and evicted BCAM 
under terms of their franchise agreement 
with the city. The move to temporary 
quarters was left in the hands of the city's 
Telecommunications Agency, which wait- 
ed until the last minute to move the 
equipment. This resulted in chaos. 
Equipment was grabbed randomly, 
thrown into vans, and driven to a gated 
storage area where it was unloaded and 
piled haphazardly into a trailer. A sub- 
stantial amount of gear was left exposed 
outdoors for some time. "An awful lot of 
the equipment was essentially junk by the 
time we got it, and wasn't worth repairing. 



28 THE INDEPENDENT April 2001 



We had to virtually start from scratch 
when we took over the program," says 
BNN's Butler. 

The view from City Hall, which man- 
aged the access program for more than a 
year in the wake of BCAM's downfall, 
was quite different. "The problem has 
always been the third party running the 
program. They can't seem to get orga- 
nized and always skew towards their spe- 
cial interests," Pitts laments. "They 
haven't created the kind of programming 
which the community needs, the kind 
which could attract outside revenues to 
help sustain public access." 

However, under BNN, salvageable 
equipment was repaired and new digital 
equipment was purchased, maintained, 
and loaned out. Bills were paid, and 
financial reports filed on time. Butler and 
the BNN board take strong exception to 
Pitt's characterization of why public 
access has floundered in Buffalo. "We did 
everything we were supposed to under 
the contract in our first year and more, 
despite little support from City Hall," 
insists Butler. "Canceling our contract 
was all about politics, not performance." 

As with Sunship, not knowing how to 
deal with pressure to 'do something 
about' controversial programs created a 
dilemma. This time the hot potato was 
Thunderbird Theater, a.k.a. 'the ski mask 
guy,' a show that often attacks the 
Catholic Church and local government 
and politicians. Despite repeated pressure 
from City Hall to have the producer 'tone 
it down,' Butler refused to pressure the 
producer to modify the show or to have 
him deal directly with City Hall. She and 
BNN paid the price with termination of 
BNN's management contract. "I told 
them I wouldn't censor shows, that I 
could be sued personally for doing so, and 
that it violated the producer's First 
Amendment rights," she says. "Public 
access is a public forum, and when cen- 
sorship is imposed it's equivalent to a gov- 
ernment takeover — something we 
deplore when it happens in the Third 
World. It's also stupid to censor access 
programs because First Amendment 
rights have consistently been upheld by 
the courts. If the ACLU takes the case, 
they're almost sure to win." 

However, the city viewed the break 
with BNN differently. "With the comple- 



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tion of our new multi-million dollar 
Telecommunications Center in the 
Apollo Theater, it didn't make sense to 
have separate operations for education, 
government, and public access. It made 
more sense to have PEG under one roof — 
under our control," says Thomas 
Tarapacki, director of Buffalo's Telecom- 
munications Agency. 

A Brighter Future? 

Six months after terminating its agree- 
ment with BNN, the city issued an RFP 
for "Management and Operation of a 
Municipal Multi-Purpose Telecommun- 
ications Center." According to Tarapacki, 
whomever is selected will run technical 
support and take care of day-to-day oper- 
ations under close supervision by his 
agency and a yet to be formed Citizens' 
Access Advisory Board (CAAB). Once 
convened, it will be the first CAAB in the 
history of public access in Buffalo. Never- 
theless, its seven voting members will all 
be City Hall appointees — four by the 
common council and three by the mayor. 

Despite the controversy over BNN and 
Buffalo's checkered track record in public 
access, Pitts is upbeat about the future of 
access television. "Our new state of the 
art access center is going to be a commu- 
nications hub like we've never seen in 
Buffalo, where we'll link cable TV, the 
Internet, and the library system. The 
library next door is going to be a state of 
the art media center, where we'll use new 
media to connect kids to the cyber world. 
At the Apollo Center, anyone with ideas 
and ability can come in and produce the 
kind of programs you won't see on other 
local channels," Pitts says. "One of the 
problems with public access in the past is 
defining it as providing equipment to folks 
to do their own thing. 'Public access' 
should also mean access to information 
and opportunities." 

Curiously, even long-time proponents 
of an independent approach to public 
access see a role for public access in eco- 
nomic development. "It would be great if 
public access could do more to serve com- 
munity needs in Buffalo, which still has a 
depressed economy," says Tony Conrad, 
University of Buffalo media professor, and 
a former BCAM and current BNN board 
member. "For example, as part of the pub- 
lic access training program there could be 



more emphasis on marketable skills in 
production and program development. In 
a few years there's going to be a huge 
demand for video content on the Internet 
and for people who can create it. Why not 
get people started through public 
access?," Conrad muses. He also believes 
that public access could be an appropriate 
medium for an assortment of vocational 
and skills training programs. 

Pitts also views PEG access as vital to a 
brighter economic future, especially for 
Buffalo's Black community. "I'd like to see 
small businessmen using public access TV 
to acquire skills and promote their busi- 
nesses," he declares. "We could feature 
programs on how to develop and run 
small businesses and help introduce them 
to the community. I'd like to see more 
producers making programs that benefit 
the community, the kind you don't see 
much of on other local stations. Why not 
make programs on local history, geogra- 
phy, economics? We plan to use our staff 
and facilities to produce quality programs 
like we haven't seen before, and we invite 
people with skills and ideas to come to the 
Apollo and do the same. Training produc- 
ers to do their own thing is okay, but it 
only goes so far. What's missing is pro- 
grams that educate and serve community 
needs." 

Conrad also envisions a public access 
program that could forge a vital link 
between the community and its smaller 
institutions. "There are hundreds of non- 
profit groups in the city which provide all 
types of services. Most of them have an 
information delivery challenge: how to 
get their message out to the community. 
It's too expensive to get full programs on 
commercial and public television, but for 
a little money they could hire a trained 
access producer to get their message on 
Channel 18. There's also a lot of intellec- 
tual capital in this town that isn't being 
marketed adequately. Why not have peo- 
ple use public access to market their skills, 
their ideas?" 

Looking down the road, Pitts envisions 
extending public access to broadband 
applications on the Internet. "Buffalo is 
one of the most wired cities of its size in 
America. We're working to create part- 
nerships with cable and other companies 
that are using our streets and pipes to 
install their fiber to make some of that 



available to us for public use, so that we 
can market ourselves to the world," he 
says. "A century ago Buffalo was very 
global. We want to achieve that again by 
broadening our definition of public 
access. Our new facility is going to be the 
mothership for multi-media centers in 
other corners of Buffalo, all of them con- 
tributing to the access channel." 

Access producers give the Telecom- 
munications Agency mixed reviews on its 
recent management of the public access 
program at the Apollo Theater. Ghen 
Dennis, technical coordinator at Squeaky 
Wheel, reports increased use of editing 
facilities at Squeaky Wheel since the 
city's takeover of public access. "Public 
access producers have been using our 
editing suites a lot more since BNN's con- 
tract was cancelled, because of limited 
access to editing equipment," she says. 

However, self-sufficient types like Chris 
Borkowski, producer of Artwaves, the 
longstanding access program produced by 
Buffalo's contemporary arts center 
Hallwalls, have no qualms with direct city 
management to date. "For us city man- 
agement hasn't been a problem," says 
Borkowski. "We do all our production in- 
house, so access to equipment isn't an 
issue. Our shows have been airing at the 
usual time and without censorship." 
Veteran independent producer Richard 
Wicka, who has his own studio, concurs. 
"I can see where it could be better, but 
city management isn't causing me any 
problems," he says. "But neither did BNN. 
A lot of producers here are taking a wait- 
and-see attitude." 

Time will tell whether public access 
flourishes under the direct supervision of 
the city's Telecommunications Agency 
and. the guidance of a politically sensitive 
Citizens' Access Advisory Board. The 
critical question may be whether the city 
of Buffalo proves any more willing to sup- 
port its own administration of PEG than it 
has for those community organizations 
that came before it. A key test may come 
when the next batch of viewer complaints 
over content reaches the desks of city 
councilors, and they realize that the buck 
stops there. 

Carl Mrozek is a former public access producer 

in Buffalo who specializes in documentaries and 

shorts about wildlife and conservation. His work 

has appeared on die Discovery Channel, PBS, 

CBS, and National Geographic. 



30 THE INDEPENDENT April 2001 



6* 



• 



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11? !^Q 



by Brian Frye 

IN THE 1960s, FILM DISTRIBUTORS LIKE THE FILM-MAKERS' 
Cooperative in New York and Canyon Cinema in San Francisco 
were among the best expressions of the 
collective spirit of their day, with an "all for 
one and one for all" ethos. While both are 
still alive and kicking, the spirit of the coop 
erative is no longer as galvanizing as it once 
was. The last few years, however, have seen 
the blossoming of what one might call their 
nineties counterpart: "micro-distributors." 
These are small, largely home-grown opera- 
tions which offer the authenticity and passion 
of a quirky small business and stand in con- 
trast to the perceived leveling effects of face- 
less corporations. Drawing inspiration from a 
multitude of sources — from DIY record labels 
and early film distributors to proto-Ponzi schemes — they 
all reflect the single-minded devotion of one dedicated 
person. What follows is a look at three rising micro-dis- $ : 
tributors — how they got started, what type of work they 
offer, and what it takes to run the show. 

oanie4jackie 

If you follow the video scene at all, you've certainly heard 
of Miranda July, who just finished a nationwide tour of her video 
performance Love Diamond, which was a smash at venues from 
New York City's Walter Reade Theater to the Museum of Fine 
Arts in Houston. But in addition to working on her own 
career — making tapes and recording for the Olympia, 
Washington, label K Records — July also runs a tiny distribu- 
tion operation called Joanie4Jackie. Like her performances, it's 
something wholly unique and operates more like a chain letter 
connecting young female media artists than a traditional distrib- 
ution company. 

As July tells it, it all started when she moved to Portland, 
Oregon, in 1995 and was impressed by the lively DIY music 



scene. She wished that something similar existed for film- and 
videomakers. "I decided to start a correspondence course for 
girls making movies," July says, which she originally dubbed Big 
Miss Moviola. After announcing an open call for videotapes by 
women in DIY music mags like Maximum Rock'n'Roll, July com- 
piled the first 10 into what she calls a "video chain letter." A 
rather benign version of the classic, hard-sell chain letter, each 
participant received a copy of the completed tape, along with a 
booklet in which each woman wrote a letter introducing herself 
to the rest. Since then, July has released 10 more video chain let- 
ters and another is forthcoming. Self-consciously egalitarian, 
these include artists ranging from middle school to middle-aged, 
whose work runs the gamut from arch avant-garde to cinema 
verite to the rawest home movie. In addition to being sent 
directly to participating videomakers, these compilations are 
sold on the Joanie4Jackie web site for a very reasonable $10. 

Last year July was forced to abandon her original company 
name of Big Miss Moviola, prompted by threats of legal action 

from Moviola Digital. Rather 
than fight it out in court, she 
rechristened her project 
Joanie4Jackie, which she 
explains as "girls endorsing 
girls, like 'So-and-so for 
President.' " 

In 1997, July started the 
Co-Star series as a comple- 
ment to the video chain 
letters. For each Co-Star 
tape, July asks a curator to 
select several films or 
videos which they consid- 
er especially important 
and of particular rele- 
vance to the Joanie4Jackie 
audience. The most recent, 
Astria Suparak's Some Kind 
of Loving, included works by 
Karen Yasinsky, Jennifer 
Reeder, Stephanie Barber, 
and Peggy Ahwesh, among 
others. For these video compi- 
lations, July teamed up with K 
Records, which distributes 
them via their record catalog, 
thus allowing the works to ben- 
efit from a more vigorous mar- 
keting program. The Co-Star 
artists share 50 percent of each 
tape's net profit, and those on the 
first compilation — which has sold 
about 1,700 copies — are already 
making money. 
July considers both projects of equal importance, as they serve 
different needs and purposes. If the chain letters provide a sense 
of community and shared purpose, the Co-Star tapes add a dash 
of pedagogy, pointing to specific tapes as worthy of emulation. 




J0ANIE4JACKIE 

So . m .""» vW' 

arti^ J. er(var 'ous 



artists, 



'"eluding 



WXimena 



an <e Barber, 



Cuev, 



as). 



April 2001 THE INDEPENDENT 31 



Joanie4Jackie operates out of July's Portland office, which 
doubles as her rehearsal studio. While a couple of dedicated 
friends help with the more technical aspects of the operation 
(web design, grantwriting, and the like), July depends heavily on 
interns, many of whom she meets on tour. The funds raised from 
tape sales, however, are hardly sufficient to cover costs; grants 
from the Regional Arts and Culture Council and the Andrea 
Frank Foundation have helped put Joanie4Jackie in the black. 
But Miranda July isn't the sort to be content with just receiving 
grants. Soon she'll be doling out money herself, passing on a por- 
tion of those grants to the chain-letter girls in Joanie4Jackie. 
According to July, future chain letters will be shorter, appear 
more frequently, and — most significantly — each will include a 
new work by a contributor to one of the previous tapes, commis- 
sioned by July to the tune of $1,000. The idea came from her 
own experience as an alternative media artist; after finishing a 
first film or video, she says, young artists wonder "what now?" 
July wants to provide both the means to continue working and 
the validation of critical recognition. 

Every day July gets suggestions of other ways she could dis- 
tribute films and videos. Her response is, "That sounds great. 
Why don't you do it?" As she notes, "There are as many perfect 
systems as there are people. This one is what I needed. That's the 
reason I can keep doing it for free, because basically it's giving me 
something I need, every day." 



111 



In 1994, Matt McCormick was making the 
lonely drive across the Lone Star State when the 
seeds of Peripheral Produce first sprouted. The 
name came in a flash, combining the idea of art 
"made and sold like agriculture or produce" 
and the fact that his sort of "produce" wasn't 
likely to garnish a Big Mac. Peripheral 
Produce came to fruition the next year, debut- 
ing as a- cable access show in McCormick's 
new home of Portland, Oregon. Before long, 
the TV series gave way to live shows, and 
McCormick was presenting Peripheral 
Produce film programs complete with live 
bands all over Portland. After one too many 
audience members suggested he do a video com 
pilation of the shorts, in 1996 he did just that. 

The result was the Auto -Cinematic Video Mix Tape and the 
beginnings of Rodeo Filmco, the "official business side" of 
Peripheral Produce (formed because "we didn't want to explain 
what 'peripheral produce' was every time we went to the bank"). 
McCormick had long planned to start some sort of distribution 
project, but, like Miranda July, he was more excited by the model 
offered by small, regional music labels than by established video 
distributors like Facets or Video Data Bank, whose customers are 
more often institutions than individuals. "Sure, you can call up 
one of these distributors and rent a video or a film print for fifty 
dollars or more, but I felt like, well, that's kind of impossible, 



especially if it's just something I want to see for myself." 
A longtime collector of seven-inch 45 rpm records, McCormick 
saw short films as an analogous format and wondered why they 
weren't available in a similarly cheap and accessible form. As he 
saw it, "You want to have them on your shelf and pull them out." 
While the DIY music scene had lots of small, regional labels dis- 
covering and supporting local artists, there was no obvious 
equivalent for filmmakers. Taking a cue from those labels, 
McCormick decided he would prepare the actual product for dis- 
tribution — from mastering to packaging — rather than operate as 
a mere purveyor of tapes supplied by artists. 

The first tape, which featured artists ranging from Scott 
Arford and McCormick himself to Olympia Film Ranch, was 
very successful, selling several hundred copies. After about a year 
and a half, McCormick realized he had to make a formal business 
out of the project. Concluding that applying for nonprofit status 
was too much of a hassle, he got a business license as Rodeo 
Filmco, which he now believes better suits his needs. 
McCormick draws up a contract with every artist whose tapes he 
distributes, much like one offered by a small record label. A small 
advance is included in the initial costs, and net profits are split 
on a percentage basis. While most of the tapes barely break even, 
McCormick is currently in the black, if only just. 

Unlike more traditional film distributors, Rodeo Filmco only 
sells tapes for home use; he doesn't rent them for theatrical 
screenings or set up shows for the artists it distributes. While Mc 
Cormick says he's happy to present curated Peripheral Produce 
shows, he prefers to connect venues 
to artists directly. All the Rodeo 
tapes include, complete contact 
information for every artist on the 
video, so people often bypass him 
entirely. That's fine with him, as 
the few times he acted as interme- 
diary, he found it took too much 
time and offered too little reward. 
In addition, with home video 
sales there's less pressure, as he can 
ship tapes when time allows, rather 
than having to keep on top of book- 
ings all the time. 

The Rodeo roster includes tapes 

by video -mix duo Animal Charm, 

Vanessa Renwick of the Oregon 

Department of Kick Ass, Craig 

Baldwin's Tribulation 99 and 







■>^5tf^ 



•s 



^ e \ r V'#° nature 



WSV< 



&* 1 



^ c !, b0 ia# n ;>^ 



$af 



utia^ s ; 



'**$&« 



So' 



From 

Sarah Marcus's 

Knuckle Down 



Sonic Outlaws, and Russ 
Forster's 8-Traclc Mind. A 
sixth tape is set for release 
with many more in the 
works, and the future 
looks promising, though 
future profits remain 
unlikely. McCormick 
keeps costs down by oper- 
ating Rodeo out of his 
home, but he plans to 



32 THE INDEPENDENT April 2001 



have a part-time employee soon and step up advertising. To date, 
he has depended primarily on the Internet and small ads in film 
magazines like this one; in addition, small-scale ad campaigns in 
high- end film fanzines like Cinemad and Cashiers du Cinemart are 
imminent. K Records has also started carrying his tapes, which 
has helped make inroads with the music crowd. Not surprisingly, 
he's had a lot more luck with sales to a younger, more music-ori- 
ented audience than to the artworld crowd. "On tour, we sell a 
ton of merchandise at a punk club in a small town like Chico, 
California, and nothing at a museum in a big 'cool' city." 



' 



tun flLWS 

What do you do when a Brazilian friend leaves several 
film prints at your house and asks if you'll take care of United 
States rentals? Stephen Kent Jusick took it as a cue to start his 
own distribution company, Fever Films, which now handles 
about 100 films and videos. Specializing in gay and lesbian films, 
Fever Films' roster ranges from Karim Ainouz (the Brazilian in 
question) to Texas Tomboy, Jenni Olsen, Michael Wallin, Jerry 
Tartaglia, and many more. 

When Ainouz left his two films 
with Jusick in 1995, the latter was 
working for the MIX Festival in 
New York City. One of the films, 
Paixao National, was brand new 
and became the kernel of the 
fledgling company as Jusick 
shepherded it through the festi- 
val circuit. For a couple of years, 
Jusick handled only Ainouz's 
work, but by late 1996 he 
began to expand Fever Films, 
acquiring more titles. He now 
distributes both individual 
works and also themed pro- 
grams of shorts. A 
QueerPunk package has been 
particularly successful, pri- 
marily because the target 
audience is so well defined. 
And if an artist has a body 
of work, Fever Films will 
often distribute every- 
thing. 

Unlike most newer micro-distributors, 
Fever Films hews to a fairly traditional 
nontheatrical distribution model, handling 
festival applications, press releases, renting, 
shipping, and billing. It has a catalog, though 
Jusick admits that it's now "somewhat out- 
dated" and none too slick. Designed by one of 
the filmmakers, it's easily duplicated on a 
Xerox machine. "I'd love to have something 
printed and bound, but it would cost a couple 




super 
Ants in Her Pants, 
by K8 Hardy 



of thousand dollars, which would have to come from some- 
where," says Jusick. 

Fever's renters run the gamut — from festivals to universities 
to small art spaces — but festivals tend to be the priority, as they 
are more reliable than schools and can afford to pay (even if they 
don't like to), while many art spaces cannot. Even so, Fever 
doesn't turn a profit. "There are times when I feel like I put more 
money in than comes out," Jusick admits. 

While he operates Fever Films out of his home office, a sepa- 
rate business line and front desk help Jusick keep operations pro- 
fessional and under control. Jusick estimates that he spends 20 
to 30 hours a week on Fever Films, though his workload decreas- 
es a little over the summer, when it's easier to find interns. While 
he would love to hire someone part-time, there's simply no 
money for it. "What that means is that everything rests on me in 
a lot of ways, and it's horrible," he declares. "Every mo-ment is a 
moment for recrimination and guilt, and anything you don't do 
yourself doesn't get done." 

One of Jusick's biggest projects right now is enhancing the 
company's web presence. While basic information on films is 
currently available online, he plans to add a searchable database. 
He also wants to expand his company's profile. While he doesn't 
have an advertising budget, Jusick confides that "if I learned 
anything working at festivals, it's that reciprocity is the name of 
the game." Often he'll offer reduced rates in exchange for an ad 
in a festival catalog. But the bulk of his marketing 
takes the form of direct mail pitches to selected 
larger venues. In the case of Fever's bigger releases, 
like its two features, Rodney Evans's The Unveiling 
and Jenni Olson and Karl Knapper's Afro Promo, 
Jusick will bulk-mail a one-sheet. But mailings are 
expensive, and he says it's difficult to sell films to col- 
leges and universities, even though they are some of 
his better funded customers. Some of his most lucra- 
tive deals are with academic libraries, though he is per- 
sonally more excited by public screenings. 
He's also more excited by the medium of film, a bias that 
shows in his reluctance to enter the home video market. 
While he'd like to subcontract with an existing video dis- 
tributor, "home video sales is a whole different kind of 
ballgame" and not necessarily a priority for Jusick. "If the 
work exists on film, I really hate to be pushing it on 
video, which is not the way I prefer it to be seen." 



c t \|ER N LMS 

,„, @te«rtl*.otJ 



Much like their sixties predecessors, none of these 
MICRO-distributors is a particularly lucrative business. 
But profit margins rarely inspire enterprises of this 
' sort. They are novel because they reflect the spirit of 
their times, in this case the individualism that has 
replaced — for better or worse — previous collec- 
tivism. All of these young visionaries insist on doing 
things their way and on their own terms. Which, 
come to think of it, isn't all that different from their 
equally iconoclastic predecessors. 

Brian Frye is a filmmaker, curator, and freelance u riter living 

in Vic York Cir\. 



April 2001 THE INDEPENDENT 33 



m 






.. .; 
■ 

■ ■ : ; . ■:■■■■ ' ■ 



T E ST I 



DIRECTOR BRAD ANDERSON AND CINEMATOGRAPHER UTA BRIESEWIJZ 
TALK ABOUT SHOOTING THEIR HORROR FILM, SESSION 9, \ 3 
ON SONY'S HD 24P CAMERA, THE CINEALTA._ } 



by Patricia Thomson 



iGENES IN mi^p 

of a decrepit 19th c e n^Cty *-rn en ta F' i n s*t i t u t i o n T' l^SI^^Pfin d e rs^n^a y s " it' ^*veTy : dif- 
ferent movie than I've ^'eV.d one," he's not kidding. Session 9 is a contemporary horror 
film, a psychological ttyi§ter that involves a group of asbestos workers cleaning a crum- 
bling insane asylum whoVe drawn into its past mysteries — and conceal a few of their own. 
This is a far cry from light, snappy tone of his previous works — Happy Accidents, Next 
. Stop Wonderland, and Darien Gap — all smartly written works that deal in some way with 
contemporary relationships. But the difference is not just in genre. With Session 9, 
Anderson made the leafkfcom 35mm to High Definition — specifically, to Sony's HDW-F900, 
a 24-frames-per-secona' progressive scan digital camera, more commonly known as the 
CineAlta. [See Robert Goodman's review, page 38-39.] 
In January, Anderson and his director of photography, Uta Briesewitz, sat down with The 
Independent to talk at length about their experience with the camera. Since the two had previously worked togeth- 
er on Next Stop Wonderland, they could compare the 35mm versus the HD experience, both from their own vantage 
points and in terms of how it affects their working relationship on set. Which it did. So here's a preview of the new 
challenges and possibilities of filmmaking to come. 






Choosing the CineAlta 

Brad Anderson: Session 9 was written for this location, the 
Danvers State Mental Hospital, which is about 30 minutes north 
of Boston. Just like in the movie, it was closed down in the eight- 
ies. It's state property now, and a lot of film productions have 
used it for production offices — The Crucible, for instance. But no 
one's used it to make an actual movie, I think because it's so dan- 
gerous. Some of the building is more intact. But parts of the 
building are falling to pieces. Floors are collapsing and there is 
asbestos everywhere. Because I had a connection at the Mass 
Film Office, we were able to convince them to give us permis- 
sion. We had to sign some amazing waivers. 

I'd always had a notion of making a horror movie there. My 
cowriter Steve Gevodan and I hooked up with these guys who 
are urban spelunkers; they break in and explore abandoned 
buildings and military facilities. So they took us up there on a lit- 
tle day trip. We went to the morgue, down in the tunnels, up in 



L 



I T S 



the attic, and found patients' files and weird shit on the walls. 
And there were crazy stairwells and tunnels. Out of that, we 
started to get the seeds of the movie. It was fun, like being pre- 
sented with a ton of cool locations and weaving the story around 
that. 

The original intention was to do it in a kind of quick, Dogme 
sort of way, because we had no money. It was pitched as a cool 
DV project, a Chuck and Buck type thing. Then USAFilms 
pitched in the money. But when we visited the location again, we 
thought, if we're going to do this right and want to see this loca- 
tion... 

Uta Briesewitz: We did a test with Sony's DSR 500 DVCam, 
and it was just like any other video. The close-ups hold up okay, 
but when you go to the wider shots, it gets really mushy. That's 
one of the strengths of the [HD] camera: you have a great repro- 
duction of detail. 

I had just done HD on another film, Derek Simons' 7 and a 
Match. So I thought that if we have to go video, let's go with the 
best we can get. I suggested HD to Brad, and that same after- 
noon, he looked at a sample in Boston and was totally sold on it. 
After that, the option of going to film never really came up. 

[Ed.: In addition, Session 9 producer David Collins had recent- 
ly completed a multiformat feature utilizing HD. He was instru- 
mental in getting a CineAlta from Sony before its release on the 
market, as well as the company's full cooperation.] 

Anderson: We did an [HD to 35mm transfer] test and looked at 
some of these wide shots blown up; you could count the leaves 
on the trees. You see all the little bricks. The resolution is incred- 
ible. If I were shooting on smaller cameras that didn't have the 
resolution, those wide shots would be useless, unless you wanted 
an awful soft look. 

Briesewitz: And this place actually has a lot of beauty. Incredible 



colors, the paint that's peeling off, all the production value that 
you almost couldn't build if you wanted to. We wanted to keep 
the details. That's why we didn't go mini-DV. 

Anderson: This is probably the first straightforward narrative 
shot on HD 24p without it being part of the whole marketing of 
the movie. There are a bunch of movies shooting now with peo- 
ple jumping on this. The big one is George Lucas' new Star Wars 
movie. But that film is all about digital effects. This is a straight- 
forward narrative that was shot with this camera not to be flashy 
or crazy about it. 



Storyboards and lighting timetables 

Anderson: I storyboarded for first time, both because we had 
very little time, and also because it was USA Films; it's more of 
a corporate, studio-type approach. We wanted to be prepared. 
We were shooting in a very precarious location and didn't want 
to go in and just mess around. There's also the nature of the 
story: it's a visually told story, in many respects, driven more by 
atmosphere and tone than by dialogue. So we wanted to create 
and orchestrate shots. 

I took a DSR 500 with me during prep. We shot a lot with 
that, and I'd edit together video storyboards on my laptop with 
Imovie. So we had a lot of scenes shot with this little video cam- 
era, and you just match it with HD. That was very helpful and 
sped things up. You could literally point to the scene on my lap- 
top and just play the scene to the gaffer or whatnot. 

Another thing we did in preparation was create lighting 
charts, because we were going to use a lot of available light. 
Particularly in places like the gym and the kitchen, which are 
huge spaces and we had very little ability to light. So we needed 
to know when light was coming through these windows. I used 
my little digital camera and took five seconds of footage at 9 
a.m., five at noon, five at 4 p.m. That really determined our 
shooting schedule. We knew we had to be shooting in this room 
between these hours if we were going to be able to get the light. 



Handling darks . . . 

Anderson: We shot a lot of dark scenes; it is a horror movie. But 
compared to a conventional horror movie, where the big climax 
happens on some dark stormy night in an abandoned house, we 
chose to stage a lot of the scary moments in regular sunlit rooms. 
The idea of staging this grim little story in this place was intrigu- 
ing to me in trying to find a pointed counterpoint to the typical 
horror movie genre, where all the monsters lurk in shadows. It's 
not only an artistic choice, but also a technical choice. Shooting 
at night in this location with a limited budget for the lighting 
package would be really hard. How do you light the interior o\ a 
building that's supposed to be abandoned without having that 
cheesy blue-lit effect? 

But one of the interesting things about deciding to go HD was 
ignoring the tradition rules about video, like 'avoid bright high- 
lights' and 'avoid going into dark.' We liked playing with the 
extremes. We've got guys in white suits going out in broad day- 



April 2001 THE INDEPENDENT 35 



light; we've got 
tunnels lit by one 
little Zenon flash- 
light. 

Briesewitz: Our 

light situations 
were very often so 
incredibly low that 
the still photogra- 
pher came up to 
me and said, 'Even 
if I use a very, very 
fast film, I still 
can't get exposure 
here.' 




Some of the interior 
walls that Anderson and 
Briesewitz loved and felt 
DVCams couldn't capture. 

(inset) The mental institute, closed 
during the Reagan years. 



Anderson: Like 
those scenes in a 
steam tunnel. 

These were just lit 
with the [actors'] flashlights. 

Briesewitz: But we did fill in. I had the same flashlight mounted 
on the camera through very heavy diffusion, like three sheets of 
paper. We did a test for that to see how much we could push it. 

Anderson: We blew it up to 35mm to see how much detail you 
get. You get pretty much. 

Briesewitz: We wanted to be as natural as possible. There aren't 
many ways you can light a tunnel. So you really see what he sees 
with this flashlight; nothing else. 

What amazed me the most with the CineAlta were the low 
light situations. When we had really big locations, like people 
walking through hallways forever and ever, and knew we would- 
n't be able to light them — because that scene was only two- 
eighths of a page, and we couldn't afford to put up tons of con- 
dors — we would put on a prime lens and be just amazed at how 
much light we would get out of the camera. 

I had to adapt my eye, because usually with film, I would know 
just by looking what I would have to fill in. But with this, I knew 
to take a look first at the HD field monitor, because these lenses 
read differently. Sometimes less was more. You very easily can 
tend to overlight it. 



. . . and highlights 

Briesewitz: When Brad and I talked about creating a look, we 
wanted a very clean negative — that's why we decided against fil- 
tration. But we wanted to create a look in the camera as much 
as possible. 

I had already done an HD film before, but not 24p. So I knew 
what I wanted to test: not so much how this camera works, but 
how it behaves visually. In my other HD film [shot with Sony's 
30 fps HDW-700 1080i camera], I would control my highlights 
much more. When shooting somebody inside a room with a win- 
dow, very often I would control the window — net it down and 
light the interior more to bring the f-stops closer together and 



keep the high- 
lights, because I 
felt the highlights 
always give away 
that it's video. 
Then we tested 
the CineAlta and 
pushed it to the 
extreme. When we 
looked at the test, 
Brad and I actually 
agreed that we 
liked how the 
highlights looked. 
I saw an improvement from the 30 fps 
to the 24p on the highlights and the 
contrast that enabled me to do something 
I couldn't on the other. 

Anderson: This is a movie where the guys are often 
walking around in these white asbestos uniforms outside in the 
glaring sun. We were concerned we'd really be fucked by the 
brightness of the suits. 

Briesewitz: We wondered, 'should we have suits that are a little 
bit toned down?' But ultimately we felt no, the moment they go 
outside, let them become these glowy white little angels. Let's 
just play with this idea. Let's do everything we were expected not 
to do. Usually you get a look when you break the rules. So we 
decided, let's push the lightlights, really let them burn far above 
the limit. And we just thought that was a pretty good look. 



The viewfinder & field monitor 

Briesewitz: On a good HD field monitor, you can definitely see 
the focus, which was helpful to us, because Brad really has his 
eye on it. He's not just a director who watches the performances, 
but will also say, "It's a little bit too soft." It's sometimes hard to 
tell in this little black-and-white viewfinder. 

Anderson: That was a real problem for you. I think that's one of 
the things they need to change. 

Briesewitz: There's a saying that the DP sees the movie come 
together first, because you're so close with your eye, you feel like 
you see it on a big screen; you feel very connected to the actors. 
As much as I was enthusiastic about many things about this cam- 
era, at the end of the day, I felt like I had no feeling for what I 
shot. Because I didn't really see the film; I saw a black and white 
image. 

The thing is, although it's HD, it's not a better viewfinder 
image. It's just like on any other Betacam — a mushy little video 
image. And the problem is, so much of your framing is deter- 
mined by color. It's a different thing, looking through the 
viewfinder, then looking up to check your frame. 

Operators I know say they don't mind the black and white 
viewfinder or say they can even see their focus a little better. But 
just to have the option to go to color would be great. [Ed: 



36 THE INDEPENDENT April 2001 



Panavision is developing a color viewfinder for their version of 
the 24p camera, which takes Sony's model and couples it with 
Panavision's viewfinder and Primo lenses.] 

Anderson: It's also a problem when you're shooting Steadicam 
or handheld, because you can't connect to the monitor, and she's 
winging it a little bit. 

Briesewitz: Because of this building, we had major problems get- 
ting a good wireless transmission of the image. Very often, we 
would have a Steadicam shot and could not see anything. 
Luckily, we could rewind and take a look. That's an advantage. 
Also, on handheld shots, this camera is more pleasant, I have 
to say. It's a little bit lighter, and it fits nicely. If you have a heavy 
camera on your shoulder, it makes you more steady. But if you 
run behind somebody in a tunnel and there's muddy ground or 
whatever, it feels good to have this camera on your shoulder. 
And I can always easily take my eye off the lens and shake things. 
Even when I'm running, I can hold the camera and look straight. 
I don't have to have my eye on the viewfinder. 



A different dynamic 

Anderson: For me the big advantage was being able to sit there 
and watch on the monitor what I was getting. You do that on a 
regular movie with a film shoot as well, but you don't get the 
quality. Here you're getting the image right from the camera on 
a high definition monitor. When you light the movie, you light it 
according to the monitor. We didn't use a meter once. 

Briesewitz: You don't need to run around and ask, 'Is this going 



black? Is this going mushy?' I go to the monitor and see what 1 
have. To tell the truth, if someone shoots HD and runs around 
with a meter. . . I don't know, I haven't found a purpose for it yet, 
because you really light to the monitor. 

Anderson: But that's also the disadvantage of it. It's like the 
DP's work is up for public approval. 

Briesewitz: All of a sudden, you can find the producer behind 
the monitor, and everyone else throwing in ideas. Or the pro- 
duction designer saying, 'Oh, I had no idea my color looks like 
this.' Of course, everybody should be respected and heard, but 
sometimes I was wondering it this opens up a place for too many 
opinions. 

Anderson: It was the same when Avids replaced flatbeds; sud- 
denly everyone could be an editor. A producer could come in 
and in a matter of hours recut the scene easily and quickly, and 
have his version of the film. It's the same with this. That's a very 
different dynamic for a DP in particular. 

Briesewitz: But if I were a student shooting my first feature, I 
think I would be less worried shooting HD than shooting film. 
There's not this anxiety of sending the dailies to the lab, and 
then you get it back and it's, 'Oh, what have I done?' 

Anderson: I'd say to any directors considering HD, make certain 
that the DP you're working with is gung-ho about working in this 
kind of [collaborative] way. The director has a chance to be 
much more involved in that process, and some DPs are protec- 
tive of their skills and role in the filmmaking process. 

Patricia Thomson is editor in chief of The Independent. 




T> - 



(L & R): Two shots taken directly from the HD master, showing 
aspect ratio, lighting, and spooky The S/H'n/ng-like interiors. 
Budget-conscious Anderson and Briesewitz created graphs that 
charted the natural light in each room during the course of the day. 



(L) With scenes set inside dark steam tunnels or out 
in the glaring sunlight, the Session 9 team came to 
know intimately how the CineAlta handles blacks and 
highlights — normally a stumbling block for video. 




April 2001 THE INDEPENDENT 37 



(M 



r s - <"; <. ~f. r j' <" i r ) c "t-~ *< 



5 



Hi-Def in High Relief 

Digital Filmmaking with Sony's CineAlta 



by Robert M. Goodman 



After Sony unveiled its CineAlta at 
the NAB convention last year and pro- 
jected some amazing sample footage, I, 
like many others in the room, was eager 
to test this 24 frame progressive high-def- 
inition video camera. So when Plus 8 
Video, a NY/LA rental house that has 
plunged into HDTV, offered to loan me a 
CineAlta HDW-F900 camcorder to 
test, I jumped at the chance. 

The Sony HDW-F900 can be config- 
ured for digital cinematography, 
using prime and manual 
zoom lenses, or equipped 
with servo zoom lenses for 
ENG/EFP use. The acces- 
sories Plus 8 loaned me 
included an Ahakus 
Engineering Extension 
Viewfinder, Chrosziel 
Follow Focus, 

Preston Micro- 
force zoom 
control, 
O'Connor 2575 
head with Ronford legs, Plus 
8 Design 6x6 swing-away matte 
box, and a Plus 8 front box. The 
complement of lenses included: four 
primes — a 5mm T1.7, 12mm T1.5, and 
40mm T1.5 from Fujinon plus a 15mm 
T2.3 from Canon; two cine-style zoom 
lenses — a 11.5x5.3 T1.9 Angenieux and 
a 9x5.5 T2.3 Canon; three ENG/EFP 
servo zoom lenses — a 20x7.5 T1.2 and 
10x5.2 T1.3 Fujinon and a 18x7.8 T2.3 
Canon; and two lens adaptors to mount 
Nikon still lenses on the F900. 

PREPRODUCTION PREP 

I spent half a day going over the camera 
with Plus 8's chief engineer prior to our 
tests. There are decisions that need to be 
made before you shoot with this camera. 
The F900 can record in a variety of frame 
rates. The choice has a significant impact 
on how audio recording and postproduc- 
tion must be handled. The 24p frame rate 



— 24 frames per second segmented frame 
progressive scan mode — has received all 
of the press attention. However, the cam- 
era also records at 23.97p (a multiple of 
standard interlaced video rate of 29.97), 
in 25p, 30p, 50i (25 frames per second 
interlaced), or in 60i, the NTSC frame rate. 
The issues revolve around time- 
code (24 fps or 30 fps variants), 
double system sound recording 
(audio sync), and the ability of 
offline editing systems to 




create accurate 

EDLs for an online edit. 

In a nutshell, if you record 

audio on the HDCAM tape, 

shoot at 23.97. If you 

record on a Nagra or DAT 

. recorder, shoot at 24fps. 

Before you offline on an 

Avid, visit www.24p.com to learn more 

about the issues surrounding editing 24p 

footage. 

CAMERA ERGONOMICS 

Anyone who's ever used a Sony broadcast 
camera will be familiar with the place- 
ment of the camera's switches and con- 
trols. The filter wheels, white balance 
switches, deck controls, start/stop trigger, 
gain settings, audio mixing controls, and 
memory stick slot correspond with cur- 
rent and older Sony camcorders. 

A menu selection wheel on the bottom 
front of the camera provides access to five 
categories of menus, all of which have 
numerous pages. The paint category offers 
total control over the camera settings. 
That's terrific — and extremely dangerous. 
The main color gamut can be adjusted as 



easily as black gamma or skin detail set- 
tings. The groupings o{ menu pages are 
logical for the most part, but there is no 
hierarchy to separate those items you 
should rarely touch from those you can 
adjust with impunity. This single -wheel 
approach to programming the camera is a 
holdover from ENG style production. The 
RM-B150 remote paint box offers knob 
and switch controls for these functions 
that made modifying the look and gamma 
of the camera far easier to do. 

When equipped with a manual zoom 
lens and an Anton Bauer Hytron 100 bat- 
tery, the HDW-F900 weighs over 25 
pounds. It's heavier than a typical cam- 
corder, though the camera was well bal- 
anced. The camera's weight is not appre- 
ciably lower in its ENG configuration. 
Handheld use, even for short periods, was 
very tiring. 

LENSES 

The CineAlta camera uses the standard 
B4 lens mount found on every 2/3" CCD 
video, but the lenses are far superior. Most 
manufacturers assumed, at first, that they 
would be able to adapt their 35mm 
motion picture lenses for HDTV. But 
HDTV reveals every imperfection in lens 
design. The perfectly flat surface of the 
CCDs and the fact that there is no film 
weaving slightly in a gate quickly 
destroyed that approach. The manufac- 
turers had to design new lenses. 

Even Nikon still lenses come up short. 
We tried using the Nikon adaptors with 
three different lenses. None were aberra- 
tion free or sharp enough to use. Plus 8 
has found that it's hit or miss — you just 
keep trying until you find a lens sharp 
enough for HDTV. 

The prime and cine -style manual zoom 
HDTV lenses have highly visible T-stop 
and distance marks. The focal-length 
markings on the zooms are also clear. 
Unfortunately, none of the manufacturers 
have a clear understanding of the working 
distances (camera to subject distance) at 
which most films are shot. Numerous 
focus marks delineate the one to eight 
feet range. Yet, only one or two marks 
exist in the 10 feet to infinity range. The 
depth of field in HDTV is greater than in 
35mm film, so there's some leeway. 
However, focus is extremely critical when 
the final image could be projected on a 
sixty-foot screen. 



38 THE INDEPENDENT April 2001 



THE VIEWFINDER 

The design of the HDW~F900's viewfind- 
er (HDVF-20A 2" HD 24F) is similar to a 
typical Betacam ENG camera. There are 
controls for brightness, contrast, and 
peaking. (Tip: The peaking control must 
be turned down or everything in the 
viewfinder appears to be in focus whether 
it is or not.) The viewfinder display is a 2" 
black-and-white RGB HD CRT, capable 
of resolving 500 lines at center. The 
HDTV format can resolve 1920 lines of 
horizontal resolution — nearly four times 
the resolution of the viewfinder. The CRT 
image is reflected onto a mirror that is 
magnified by a lens with diopter adjust- 
ments to enlarge the image. 

One of the five menu categories is 
devoted to setting up the viewfinder dis- 
play. Everything from aspect ratio to shut- 
ter speed can appear in the viewfinder. 
However, to set exposure you must rely on 
the camera's two independent zebra set- 
tings or use an external monitor or light 
meter. The image in the viewfinder has 
not passed through the camera's shutter. 
Consequently, looking at it while the 
camera dollies past a highly patterned 
background, such as a chain link fence, 
may induce mild motion sickness. The 
standard diopter's plastic lens does not 
maintain flat field focus across the entire 
image. Setting critical focus was extreme- 
ly difficult to do with the viewfinder. Its 
resolution is at the limit of what the 
human eye can resolve for a two inch 
image. Critical focus must be set using a 
tape measure or an external monitor. 

THE SHOOT 

Using a volunteer crew, we shot for two 
days outdoors and a few hours indoors. 
The first day had partial sun. The second 
was completely overcast. The only annoy- 
ance we experienced during the shoot was 
the placement of the camera's record trig- 
ger. When the camera is fully tricked out 
with the follow focus, zoom motor, and 
matte box, it's difficult for the operator to 
reach. 

Plus 8 pre-programmed the camera's 
memory stick to optimize the camera for 
shooting under high and low contrast sit- 
uations. They made these adjustments in 
their test facility and stored them as scene 
files for us. So, we had three settings 
choices (high, low, and normal) on loca- 



tion. Painting the camera outdoors with a 
tiny Sony 8" portable HD monitor (BVM- 
D9H5U) as our reference didn't seem like 
a good idea. The image was too small to 
accurately display and judge the subtle 
changes this camera allows you to make. 
Add outdoor glare and you have a pre- 
scription for an unintentional disaster 
that could cause havoc in post. We initial- 
ly relied on the monitor to set focus and 
exposure. However, we only had six 
Hytron 100 batteries. The batteries pow- 
ered the camera for approximately five 
hours or barely 45 minutes for the moni- 
tor. We ended up using the monitor only 
when absolutely necessary and relying on 
a tape measure to set focus. 

SUMMARY 

After three days, I barely scratched the 
surface of this camera's capabilities. The 
footage has spectacular color rendition 
and exceptional detail. The best way to 
describe it is 'grainless 35mm film.' It all 
looked good on the 8" monitor. A month 
later, on a 32" HD monitor (BVM- 
D32E1WU), I could clearly see the good, 
the bad, and the ugly. Focus was a prob- 
lem. Some zoom lenses had noticeable 
chromatic aberration at wide focal 
lengths. But the great shots looked phe- 
nomenal on a large screen. If I were shoot- 
ing, I'd insist on having a 24" or 32" mon- 
itor on set. It's too hard to judge what 
you're doing on anything smaller. 

I also watched some scenes that inter- 
cut 35mm and 24p HDCAM footage. 
What separated 1080/24p from 35mm 
was the grain. The CineAlta camera has 
greater depth of field. It doesn't reproduce 
specular highlights as well as 35mm, 
though the color gamut is nearly identical. 
A CineAlta filmmaking package rents for 
approximately $7,000 a week. (The cam- 
era retails for around $100,000, and the 
lenses from $10,000 to $50,000.) Fifty 
minutes of tapestock is $70. It's clear 
we're on the cusp of a new era, because 
digital filmmaking no longer means image 
quality has been compromised. And it's 
bound to get better and cheaper. 

Robert Goodman [goodman@historks.coin j 
wrote the camera and lens chapter for ASC's lat- 
est edition of Digital Video Manual and is an 
award-winning writer and Emmy-nominated 
director based in Philadelphia. He is currently co- 
producing the feature Gifts in the Mail. 





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April 2001 THE INDEPENDENT 39 



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Army of One 



Movie Wars: How Hollywood and the 
Media Conspire to Limit What Films 
We Can See 

by Jonathan Rosenbaum; 234 pp. 
Chicago: A Cappella Books; $24 

by Rob Nelson 

Consider this: Roger Ebert is a studio 
lackey, but he's not as ignorant about 
movies as his late partner Gene Siskel 
was. The "media-industrial complex" 
turns most of the nation's film criticism 
into another form of publicity. The 
American Film Institute's Top 100 list is 
a money-grubbing means to sell more 
videos from the studio vaults. The 
Danish Dogme 95 movement is a PR 
scam that plays directly to American film 
critics' moronic love of hype. 
Hollywood's market research is designed 
to make the public appear stupid. 
Miramax Films buys foreign-language 
movies in order to bury them. Pauline 
Kael, during her last years at the New 
Yorker, initiated an anti-world-cinema 
campaign that is now standard practice 
at most mainstream magazines. The 
Sundance Film Festival is an "industry- 
run" affair where audience members talk 
on cell phones during screenings. 
Cannes, on the other hand, is essential — 
provided the festival pays your way. 

Welcome to the world of Movie Wars: 
How Hollywood and the Media Conspire to 
Limit What Films We Can See by Jonathan 
Rosenbaum, esteemed film critic at the 
Chicago Reader and author of one of the 
most unmitigated movie rants since John 
Simon's last volume of collected pans. 
One can agree with most of what 
Rosenbaum argues here — in fact, I do — 
and still find his book to be an oppres- 
sive, pedantic bore. What the critic tries 
to explain over the course of 225 ram- 
bling pages is why the mass audience 
doesn't get exposed to great movies; what 
he fails to include amid all the finger- 
pointing is any passionate description of 
what's at stake. 

In previous collections such as Placing 
Movies and Movies as Politics, Rosen- 



40 THE INDEPENDENT April 2001 



Jonathan Rosenbaum 



baum — a vastly knowledgeable and con- 
sciously political advocate of world cine- 
ma — leavened his righteous indignation 
with chapters devoted to the lengthy 
praise of worthy obscurities. In Movie 
Wars, the criticism isn't constructive, 
while even the raves accentuate the neg- 
ative: A section on Joe Dante's misinter- 
preted toy story satire 
Small Soldiers finds 
Rosenbaum taking inven- 
tory of 47 of the film's 
reviews — none of which, 
it seems, matched the 
author's own insights as 
published in the Reader. 

If Rosenbaum appears 
reluctant to herald the 
perspicacity of other crit- 
ics, one of the clearer 
points he makes in Movie 
\vars is that the ticket- 
buying masses are likely 
smarter than they're 
taken to be, but bear the brunt of blame 
for dumb-and-dumber cinema. The rea- 
soning goes that so-called "capitalist film 
critics" who favor incessant coverage of 
studio dross have a vested interest in 
maintaining the public's bad taste so as to 
justify their own (and that of their corpo- 
rate employers). But isn't that merely the 
mainstream part of the equation? How 
about what's been happening on the 
fringes to allow public screenings of the 
critic's beloved works by Abbas 
Kiarostami and Hou Hsiao-hsien even 
despite such tyranny — and even in fly- 
over country? 

Alas, Rosenbaum doesn't much deal 
with the newly reinvigorated noncorpo- 
rate circuit of distribution and exhibition 
that has enabled the esoteric likes of 
Flowers of Shanghai, Time Regained, and 
Bean Travail to enjoy extended exposure 
in smaller cities — perhaps because to do 
so would be to share credit with an entire 
community of cineastes whose own strug- 
gles against the "media-industrial com- 
plex" have yielded positive results. 
Ironically, the author's relentless doom- 
saying has him following suit with those 
mainstream — er, capitalist — film critics 



MOVIE WARS 

How Hollywood and the Media 

Conspire to Limit What 

Films We Can See 



who see corporate -owned arthouse chains 
as an "alternative" to shopping- mall mul- 
tiplexes and avoid discussion of the rest. 
Rosenbaum accuses Miramax (an increas- 
ingly familiar target of his tirades) of forc- 
ing indie theaters to "play ball" by screen- 
ing its lesser product in trade for hits. But 
in fact, alternative venues such as 
Minneapolis's Oak Street Cinema, Park- 
way Theater, and U Film Society — which, 
like other theaters around the country, 
have fortified ties with smaller distributors 
such as New Yorker Films, Winstar 
Cinema, and Kino Inter- 
national, among others — 
haven't needed to rely on 
mini-major fare for years. 
Whether related to film 
or not, conspiracy theo- 
ries are more credible 
when they stem from a 
reporter's research rather 
than a critic's specula- 
tions. Which is to say 
that, while the author is 
right that the mainstream 
media does "conspire" to 
prevent Adam Sandler 
fans from knowing about 
Kiarostami, he's wrong that the Iranian 
director is failing to find an audience. 
Rosenbaum is fond of (re) telling the story 
of Miramax's spiteful refusal to circulate 
its sole Kiarostami acquisition, Through 
the Olive Trees; but actually, the movie has 
managed to screen anyway, since, as one 
Madison curator told me recently, the film 
is readily available through a specialty 
outfit (known in the industry as a 
"nontheatrical distributor") that gets its 
print through the evil Miramax. 

In its convenient neglect of a thriving 
subculture in favor of self-congratulatory 
rabble-rousing, Movie Wars has more in 
common with those dire "death of cine- 
ma" screeds from a few years ago than its 
author would likely care to admit. At one 
point, Rosenbaum suggests "we'd be 
much better off if we had no film critics at 
all," although his mainstream-bashing 
mission seems more like a ploy to get the 
likes of David Denby and David Thomson 
to write as rigorously about Hou Hsiao- 
hsien as he does. But something tells me 
the movie warrior would rather fight this 
battle alone. 

Rob Nelson is film editor at Ciry Pages in 

Minneapolis. A version of this article originally 

appeared in that publication. 



The Scoop 



The Biz: The Basic Business, Legal, 

and Financial Aspects of the Film 

Industry 

by Schuyler M. Moore, 366 pp. Los 

Angeles: Silman-James Press, $26.95 


BY INNES 


GUMNITSKY 



Schuyler Moore's The Biz offers a 
comprehensive and realistic overview of 
the film business. The author certainly 
took off his rose-colored 
glasses while writing this 
volume, which may be 
particularly helpful if you 
are still wearing a pair. 
Unfortunately, the lan- 
guage of the book is 
somewhat dry; if you plan 
to skim through it in a 
few hours, it may not 
work for you. But if your 
objective is information 
rather than entertain- 
ment, this book is the 
right choice. 

The Biz can be particularly useful if you 
treat it as a reference guide. Each of its 23 
chapters covers a distinct topic. So if one 
day you want to learn about raising 
money, and another you need to delve 
into distribution agreements, you can eas- 
ily turn to the appropriate chapter. I pre- 
dict many readers will get lost in some of 
the chapters dealing with studio financing 
(after all, the book is a mandatory read for 
the author's students at UCLA School of 
Law), but do not get discouraged. At the 
very least, you will know which issues to 
discuss with your lawyer and accountant. 

There are things that you can do on 
your own, which the book helps identify. 
The chapter on Entities, for example, 
explains why establishing a Limited 
Liability Company (LLC) will be the right 
choice 99 percent of the time. But other 
things should only be done with the help 
of an experienced attorney. The chapter 
on Private Offerings makes it very clear 
that mistakes in compliance with the 
securities laws can make the producer 
personally liable for repayment of the 




investment. To make matters worse, 
intentional failure to comply is punishable 
as a criminal offense. 

Do not overlook the chapter on 
Calculating Net Profits; it's a real eye 
opener. It provides a good understanding 
of what net profits are and how you can 
make them more meaningful when trying 
to attract major talent to your next film, 
especially if you are not able to pay their 
top rate up front. A chapter on Credits is 
also well written and will help you in 
negotiations with talent. Understanding 
issues of guild jurisdiction, guild residuals, 
and other guild requirements will save 
you an enormous amount of time and 
headache. SAG, for example, requires 
independent film com- 
panies to deposit a large 
percentage of the actors' 
compensation and pen- 
sion and health benefits 
with them, which 
becomes part of the 
film's budget. 

Several chapters delve 
into the basic principles 
of intellectual property 
law. Using simple and 
clear language, the 
author lays out every- 
thing you need to know 
to avoid legal action for violating some- 
one's copyright, right of publicity, and 
trademark. The author preaches a conser- 
vative but practical approach: "When in 
doubt, leave it out." Getting sued in this 
country is not a particularly enjoyable 
experience, and if you don't believe me, 
just read the chapter on Litigation. As 
Moore notes, "Merely to be sued is to 
lose." Not only do you open yourself up to 
potentially limitless liability, but even if 
you win the case, you are usually stuck 
with a huge legal bill. 

Overall, The Biz does a great job at 
demystifying the film industry. It cannot 
substitute for obtaining your own lawyer, 
but it can save you a lot of time, money, 
and trouble. It can also add some disci- 
pline to the process of producing a film, 
and from what I have observed, that is 
always a good thing. 

Innes Gumnitsky [innesgu@yahoo.com] is a 

New York-based entertainment attorney at 

Cowan, DeBaets, Abrahams & Sheppard. She 

will be moderating a series of legal discussions at 

AIVF from May-November (see pg. 60). 



II 



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April 2001 THE INDEPENDENT 41 



^ 




LOT 47 FILMS 











BY LlSSA GlBBS 


w 




t sa»^ » 


1 


Lot 47 Films, 26 W. 23rd St., 5th floor, 


yH 


■"7~^ -■..-. 


» ^ M 




New York, NY 10010 

(646) 638-4747; fax: 638-4757 








info@lot47.com; www.lot47.com 










Contact: Jeff Lipsky, Co-President 






V " 







What is Lot 47 Films? 

We are one of the few independent film distributors 
left in the United States. 

Who is Lot 47? 

It was co-founded in July 1999 by brothers Jeff and 
Scott Lipsky. A third brother, Mark, joined the com- 
pany in January 2001 serving as co-president with 
Jeff. Scott holds the title of chairman and CEO. 
Shortly after the company was formed, Mary Ann 
Hult, formerly of Fox Searchlight and New Yorker 
Films, joined Lot 47 as vice-president of publicity; 
Dawn Altyn, formerly an executive at Stratosphere, 



joined the company as vice president of distribu- 
tion services; and Danae Kokenos, formerly 
Director of Acquisitions for Samuel Goldwyn Films, 
joined the company as vice president of acquisi- 
tions. 

Total number of employees at Lot 47: 

Seven 

How, when, and why did Lot 47 come into 
being? 

It was Jeff Lipsky's passionate determination to 
distribute Tim Roth's The War Zone that led to the 
formation of the company. He was the head of 




Two Lot 47 films: Harry Sinclair's The Price of Milk (left), and Im 
Kwon Taek's masterly Chunhyang, the story of two young lovers 
from different worlds who are torn apart. 



marketing and distribution at Samuel Goldwyn 
Films at the time — early 1999. The War Zone 
world premiered at the Sundance Film Festival, but 
Jeff avoided the film because he wasn't in the 
mood to see a movie about the war in Bosnia and 
he didn't like Quentin Tarantino movies (whose 
films he closely associated with Tim Roth). The 
next month he went to Berlin where The War Zone 
competed in the Panorama section of that city's 
festival. He again avoided the film. After Berlin he 
discovered what the film was really about and 
began hearing that it was brilliant, unusual, spe- 
cial. He asked to see a print in New York prior to the 
AFM and watched it with his then-assistant, 
Christie Colliopoulos. They were blown away by the 
film. He showed it to Samuel Goldwyn, Jr. and com- 
pany President Meyer Gottlieb. They both agreed 
that it was worth acquiring but couldn't strike a 
deal. It was at one in the morning on a cold night 
in Cannes as Jeff sat commiserating with Tim Roth 
(with whom he had begun to form a bond) and his 
producer, Dixie Linder, that he blurted out that he 
had a brother in Seattle with access to some 
financing. Two months later Lot 47 Films was 
incorporated. Six months later, Jeff's brother's 
enthusiasm about what had been achieved on The 
War Zone prompted him to suggest they make Lot 
47 a permanent part of the independent distribu- 
tion firmament. 

What's the driving philosophy behind Lot 47? 

Our mandate is three-pronged. One: we will con- 
tinue to provide moviegoers with a broad cross- 
section of diverse independent American features, 
great documentaries, and the kind of foreign lan- 
guage films that once moved a generation. Two: we 
will endeavor to lead an educational initiative that 
will address the next generation of moviegoers: 
that generation of children now just entering junior 
high school (the college kids of today are already a 
lost cause). We will work with the educational 
community, the exhibition community, and with our 
distributor competitors to give this potential audi- 
ence, from coast-to-coast, a sense of history 
about American independent film (that is, the 20 
years of independent cinema pre-Tarantino). And 
three: we expect to lead the industry in the explo- 
ration and execution of new means of digital distri- 



42 THE INDEPENDENT April 2001 



bution, while not forsaking the experience of seeing 
feature films in conventional theaters. 

What's the origin of the company's name? 

You'll have to visit our web site to find that out. 

What did Lot 47's founders do before Lot 47? 

As for the history of our founders, two years prior to 
Lot 47 Jeff had rejoined Samuel Goldwyn Films as 
Head of U.S. Marketing & Distribution. A former 
consultant to Bravo Television's Independent Film 
Channel, Jeff also worked as President of the 
Motion Picture Division at Skouras Pictures, but left 
in 1990 in order to form October Films with 
Bingham Ray. Previously Jeff had served as Vice 
President of Distribution for the Samuel Goldwyn 
Company and General Sales Manager of New Yorker 
Films. He began his career working with his friend 
and mentor, John Cassavetes, and Cassavetes' 
landmark distribution company, Faces Distribution. 
Over the years, Jeff has been involved in the distri- 
bution of such notable films as Stranger Than 
Paradise, My Life as a Dog, Life Is Sweet, My 
Dinner with Andre, The Marriage of Maria Braun, 
and The Last Seduction. As a filmmaker, Jeff wrote 
and directed the critically acclaimed feature 
Childhood's End. 

Scott Lipsky is one of Seattle-based Avenue A's 
co-founders and its Chief Technologist, responsible 
for planning, development, implementation and 
support of the organization's proprietary strategic 
systems and solutions. He is also leading Avenue 
A's technology and strategic development in global 
digital media, including interactive TV and wireless. 
A veteran of both Amazon.com and Barnes & Noble, 
Scott is well versed in strategic planning, corporate 
expansion, technology planning, Internet marketing, 
content acquisition & licensing, and the develop- 
ment of new products and services in the field of 
new media. 

Prior to joining the company, Mark Lipsky was VP 
Strategic Relations & Marketing for Singingfish.com, 
Director of Consumer Marketing at Bravo Networks, 
Executive VP of Sales and Marketing at Prestige, a 
division of Miramax Films, and Senior VP of Sales 
and Marketing at Miramax Films. Over the course of 
his 20 years in the entertainment industry he has 
been recognized as an advocate of artistic freedom 
and has rallied successfully against censorship in 
the motion picture industry, most notably against 
the MPAA's "X" and "NC-17" ratings. 

The difference between Lot 47 and other distrib- 
utors of independent films is. . . 

that we won't acquire movies simply to fill a 
pipeline, or to build a film library without any regard 
for the shorter term goals, aspirations, and profits 
of our filmmakers. Making feature films is less 
expensive now than it has ever been while market- 



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Fax: 212.219.0563 



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1-800-431-2050 ext 121 



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has been a leading 
producer/distributor for 
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ing costs have skyrocketed. We want to get back to 
basics, using grassroots methods and sheer inge- 
nuity, as well as taking advantage of unique 
Internet marketing opportunities to mitigate some 
of the cost of marketing, thereby creating higher 
profits for the company and its filmmakers. 

What would people be most surprised to learn 
about Lot 47? How many works are in your col- 
lection? 

In only 18 months we have acquired 10 completed 
films: Tim Roth's The War Zone; Aiyana Elliott's 
Sundance Film Festival award-winning, autobio- 
graphical chronicle of her legendary father Jack 
Elliott, The Ballad of Ramblm' Jack- Tonie 
Marshall's Venus Beauty Institute; 




ally stylized, youth oriented comedy comes from 
Gary Burns, director of the acclaimed film Kitchen 
Party. 

Is Lot 47 also involved in co-production or co- 
financing of works? 

Lot 47 Films has also affirmed its commitment to 
the next motion picture revolution by partnering 
with digital video producers Jason Kliot and Joana 
Vicente of Blow Up [Chuck & Buck, Series 7), to 
release eight films over the next three years. This 
is not, however, a production deal. The sure-fire, 
most direct path towards disaster for a distributor 
that possesses a modicum of marketing and distri- 
bution expertise is to assume it automatically 



Stavros Kazantzidis' 
Russian Doll finds 
Hugo Weaving and 
Natalia Novikova 
in a marriage of 
convenience. 

(below) 
Anna Thomson 
plays Bella in 
Amos Kolleck's 
Fast Food 
Fast Women. 



Chunhyang, Im Kwon Taek's 

97th feature film and the first 

Korean film ever selected for the 

Main Competition at the Cannes 

Film Festival; Harry Sinclair's 

The Price of Milk, starring 

Danielle Cormack and Karl 

Urban in an extraordinarily 

unique, almost indescribable 

story set in New Zealand; 

Christopher Livingston's Hit & 

Runway, winner of the Best 

Screenplay Award at the Los 

Angeles Independent Film Festival and the U.S. 

Comedy Arts Festival in Aspen; the 2000 

Australian Academy Award nominee Russian Doll 

by Stavros Kazantzidis, a funny and touching love 

story about a Jewish Russian mail order bride who 

arrives in Australia to find her husband-to-be 

dead; Fast Food Fast Women, the first comedy 

from the director of Sue and Fiona, Amos Kolleck 

(son of former mayor of Jerusalem, Teddy Kolleck) 

which world premiered in the Main Competition at 

the 2000 Cannes Film Festival and blew away the 

audience at the 2000 Toronto International Film 

Festival; and waydowntown. a cutting edge, visu- 



boasts the skill set required to produce 
motion pictures. Wrong! That level of vanity is 
unaffordable and helps perpetuate mediocrity and 
contributes to a general glut of product in a limited 
marketplace that is already bursting at the seams. 
By joint venturing with qualified visionary produc- 
ers like Jason and Joana we are merely a conduit 
allowing complete artistic freedom to filmmakers 
exploring the DV frontier, while gaining access to 
exploit early marketing opportunities that had 
heretofore not been available to most acquisitions- 
based distributors. 



44 THE INDEPENDENT April 2001 



What's your basic approach to releasing a title? 

We acquire all rights in North America. We acquire 
about 10-12 titles per year. Each and every one ot 
our titles becomes a showcase title, a driver. No 
tilm will ever tall between the cracks. If we had 10 
times the number of employees we do now, that 
would not allow for 10 times as many titles. This 
would only mean we'd have people falling over each 
other, unfocused, lacking in communication. 

How do you find the films you distribute? 

We are just as culpable as every other distributor in 
terms of how lazy the industry has become. The 
(equally lazy) media (in particular, film editors) lets 
film festival selection committees do their work for 
them. Distributors, in turn, let the media do its work 
for them, and filmmakers and consumers suffer as 
a result. Lot 47 buys films because we have a pas- 
sion for the product and because we think the pur- 
chase price does not constitute a make-it-or- 
break-it arrangement. A film doesn't have to have 
been selected by Sundance, or have been an 
award-winner at an international film festival, or 
have the imprimatur of a high profile film critic for 
us to consider it. 

If you could only give independent filmmakers 
one bit of advice it would be . . 

When one of us speaks on panels or at symposiums 
filmmakers as a conduit of advice, we each try to 
tell them (the directors, not the producers) that they 
must ask themselves if they will die if they don't 
make their movie. If the answer is 'no,' then they 
shouldn't make the movie. Do something worth 
dying for. And if you make a movie, make it for your- 
self. If you're true to yourself, you'll be addressing a 
universal audience. We all share some of the same 
life experiences and if the viewer can identify with 
just one character in your film, your potential audi- 
ence will number in the millions. None of us, how- 
ever, are superheroes in our daily lives. No one 
except Joel Silver, I suppose. 

Upcoming titles to watch for: 

We take considerable pride in the fact that we saw 
a video cassette of an unheralded French film last 
summer, a film that met with limited box office 
results in its homeland, and on the basis of our love 
of the film, and a reasonable deal, it is now our 
tentpole summer 2001 release. The film is The 
Beating of Butterfly Wings, which you might not 
have heard of it yet, but you goddamned will have 
by the end of the summer! Coming across it the way 
I did, it was the first film since I had been "forced" 
to watch a cassette of The Unbelievable Truth by 
then first-time filmmaker Hal Hartley, that I felt like 
I had truly discovered a great harvest in a field 
thought fallow. I suddenly remembered why I've 
been doing this for 27 years. 

Lissa Gibbs is a contributing editor to The Independent 
and former Film Arts Foundation Fest director. 



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NEWMARKET CAPITAL GROUP 



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NEWM ARKET 



NewMarket Capital Group 
202 North Canon Drive 
Beverly Hills, CA 90210 
(310) 858-7472; fax: 858-7473 
Contact: Aaron Ryder, acquisitions 



What is NewMarket Capital? 

We are an independant film financing company. 

When and why did NewMarket come into being? 

The company was started several years ago by 



After financing 
Christopher 
Nolan's 
Memento, 
NewMarket is 
entering the 
distributor 
ring with this 
film, as well. 




d Vwe«*e**- c0 - ■■ 



partners William Tyrer and Chris Ball. While the 
company started off cash-flowing pre-sales and 
working in more of a straight financing capacity, 
we've since evolved into actual film production and 
distribution. 

The driving philosophy behind NewMarket cap- 
ital is . . . 

Make strong films with break-out potential. Don't 
pick projects for glamour or market reasons: pick 
them because they are the best projects possible. 

Who are the (film development/production) 
staff of NewMarket? 

Myself [Aaron Ryder], Linda Hawkins, and John 
Crye. 

How many projects do you fund on average 
each year? 

It changes from year to year — somewhere 
between six and 10 projects per year. 

What is the estimated dollar amount per pro- 
ject? 

We fully finance films as small as $2-$3 million or 
as large as $20 million, depending on the elements 
involved. 



' Michelle Coe 

How many project submis- 
sions do you receive annu- 
ally? What is the ratio of 
submitted to funded? 

We normally receive up to 
25-30 projects a week and, 
as I mentioned, we only make 
6-10 per year. I'm not sure 
what that ratio is. (I went to 
film school — math's not my strong subject.) 

What types of projects do you seek? 

We try to keep a diverse slate, so we don't neces- 
sarily look at one specific genre or type of film. I 
would say, however, that all of our projects need to 
have a commercial sensibility. 

What types of projects would NewMarket defi- 
nitely not fund? 

It's difficult for us to fund smaller art films with 
limited commercial appeal unless the director is 
someone we feel will deliver an exceptional film, or 
if the project has higher-named cast attached. 

What is your funding cycle? Are there hard 
deadlines or can producers approach you year 
round? 

The door is open all year 
round. 

How does a producer sub- 
mit a project to you (i.e., 
cover letter and synopsis, 
etc.)? 

If it's from a producer that 
we're unfamiliar with, then 
we like to see a synopsis of 
what the material is about. 

Tell us a little about the 
review process. 

When a script comes in, 

it's often read first by our 

story editor, John Crye. If 

it's something he responds to, everyone at 

NewMarket will then read it. If it's something we all 

feel we should pursue, we then meet with those 

involved. 

What are the financing decisions based upon? 
Who makes these decisions? 

Not unlike any other business, we too make our 
decisions based on whether or not any given pro- 
ject is a sound investment. Ultimately, the decision 
to move forward and green-light a film is made by 



William Tyrer and Chris Ball. 

Do you look at all projects firstly as possible 
investments and then offer loan financing to 
those which appeal to you but which you decide 
not to invest in? 

While we used to be more involved with loan 
financing, it's now rare for us to get involved at 
that level. 

What are the distinguishing factors of projects 
you will invest in versus those you will finance? 

Each project is different. A lot of it depends on 
who's involved, how much the budget is, how 
strong the material is and the elements attached. 

What are the basic terms and conditions of 
financed projects? 

This is a complicated question and not that inter- 
esting. 

Are there time frame restrictions within which 
the funds must be used? 

Yes, but it varies from project to project. 

Do you offer your loan-funded filmmakers any 
additional support on their projects either in 
the production or distribution phases? 

No, not really. 

Do you fund projects only in development, or 
can producers approach you for finishing 
funds? 

As I mentioned before, we are 




a very diverse company. We tend to like to see 
things in an earlier stage. However, we would con- 
sider finishing funds if we felt strongly about the 
project. 

If they are rejected in the development phase, 
can they re-submit the same project in a later 
phase? 

Of course. However, before simply re-submitting, I 
like to have a conversation about the changes 
made or the addition of cast. 



46 THE INDEPENDENT April 2001 



How many projects have you funded since your 
inception? What has been the (distribution/exhi- 
bition) path of some of those projects? 

I don't know the specific number. But to give you a 
few examples: we fully financed Cruel Intentions, 
then it was picked up by Sony; The Skulls, which 
was then picked up by Universal; Dead Man, which 
was picked up by Miramax; and more recently, 
Memento, which we fully financed and will be the 
first film released from our new domestic distribu- 
tion company. 

What distinguishes NewMarket Capital from 
other financing companies or funders? 

With us it's a one-stop shop. We can make offers to 
talent, we can finance the film — and all without 
pre-sales or distribution in place. 

What are two points of advice you have for pro- 
ducers on how best to approach financiers? 

First, financiers want to invest in films; they often 
need to invest in films. But most will not take stu- 
pid risks. It's the producer's job to not only present 
the material but to work with the investors as a 
partner in making a logical investment which will 
not only result in a good film but will make them 
some money as well. Second, make sure the mate- 
rial is in the best possible shape it can be in. 

More specifically, what advice do you have for 
producers in putting forth a strong application 
or proposal? 

I have no idea. We don't really look at applications 
or proposals. For us it's more about the script. 

What is the most common mistake producers 
make when they apply to you? 

They forget to ask themselves, "Who's going to 
want to see this film?" 

What would people most be surprised to learn 
about NewMarket and/or its founders? 

We have no idea what we're doing ... I'm joking of 
course. We have a vague idea 

Other financing companies or grantmaking 
organizations you admire and why. 

I'm not familiar enough with others to make that 
kind of assessment. 

Famous last words: 

There's an old quote — I apologize, I've forgotten 
who said it — that goes: "This country has plenty of 
good five cent cigars; the problem is they all cost a 
quarter. What we need is a good five cent nickel." 
We feel similarly about film: there are plenty of good 
independent films, but too often the budgets are too 
high for the risk. 

Michelle Coe is program director at AIVF. 



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Long Island 
International 
Film Expo 2001 




Seeks Submissions for July 13-19 Film Festival 



Short and Feature Length Films, all genres considered. 

If accepted, ability to screen in 16mm, 35mm and VHS Video. 

Cut off date May 14. 

* GALA AWARDS CEREMONY August 22 * 

For application, please email debfilm@aol.com, 

call 516-571-3168 

or visit our websites: www.LonglslandFilm.com and 

www.Co.Nassau.NY.US/film/form2001.html 

The Long Island International Film Expo is under the auspices of 

the Long Island Film &TV Foundation and 

the Nassau County Film Commission 




ooklyn com 

HATTAN 



April 2001 THE INDEPENDENT 47 



by Scott Castle 

listings do not constitute an endorsement, 
we recommend that you contact the festival 
directly before sending cassettes, as details 
may change after the magazine goes to press, 
deadline for placing listings: 1st of the 
month two months prior to cover date (may 1 
for july issue). include festival dates, cate- 
gories, prizes, entry fees, deadlines, formats 
& contact info. send to: scott@aivf.org 

Domestic 

afi los angeles international film festival, nov. 

1-11, CA. Deadlines: June 4 (early); July 16 (final). Fest 
combines film programming w/ special events, capturing 
cultural diversity of L.A. while providing new filmmakers 
w/ avenue of exposure to film industry. Sections incl. 
Official Competition, New Directions (American Indies), 
European Film Showcase, Latin Cinema Series, Shorts, 
Docs. Entries must be L.A. premieres w/ no previous local 
TV/theatrical exposure. Filmmakers not paid fee. Cats: 
short, doc, feature. 
Awards: Juried Com- 
petition Prizes, Kodak 
Vision Award for 
Cinematography, Digital 
Film Award, Audience 
Awards in each cat. 
Formats: 35mm, 16mm, 
video. Entry fees: early, 
$40 (features, over 30 
mins.), $30 (shorts); final, $50 
(features), $40 (shorts) $40. 
Contact: AFI Fest, 2021 N. 
Western Ave, Los Angeles, CA 
90027; (323) 856-7707; fax: 
462-4049; afifest@afionline.org; 
www.afifest.com 



script. Awards: Best of Fest awarded to films in 5 cats: 
drama, comedy, doc, family/children & short. 4th annu- 
al screenplay competition will honor 1st place winners in 
adult drama, children/family, comedy & action/adven- 
ture cats. Formats: 16mm, 3/4", 35mm. Preview on VHS. 
Entry fees: $35 (early); $40 (final). Contact: BFF, Marty 
Ferris, Box 718, Riverwalk Center, 150 W. Adams, 
Breckenridge, CO 80424; (970) 453-6200; fax: 453- 
2692; filmfest@brecknet.com; www.brecknet.com/ 
bff/home.html 

CALIFORNIA WORKS, Aug. 17-Sept. 3, CA. Deadline: 
June 1. Fest, the juried fine arts competition of the CA 
Expo & State Fair, seeks short films & videos under 5 
min. in length. Awards: Totaling over $14,560 plus spe- 
cial awards. Formats: 1/2". Preview on VHS. Entry fee: 
$12. Contact: CW, California State Fair. Box 15649, 
Sacramento, CA 95852; (916) 263-3146; fax: 263- 
7914; entryoffice@calexpo.com; www.bigfun.org 

CHICAGO INTERNATIONAL CHILDREN'S FILM FESTI- 
VAL. Oct. 25-Nov. 9, Chicago, IL. Deadline: May 15. 
Competitive fest is one of the largest events for children 

in N. America & 



Cash prizes in these categories: narrative feature, nar- 
rative short, doc, experimental, animation, music video, 
audience choice & "Made in Chicago." Formats: 35mm, 
16mm, super 8, video, DVD. Entry fees: $20 (early); $35 
(final). Contact CUFF, 3109 North Western Ave. Chicago, 
IL 60618; (773) 327-3456; fax: 327-3464; info@ 
cuff.org; www.cuff.org 

CINEMATEXAS INTERNATIONAL SHORT FILM AND 
VIDEO FESTIVAL. Sept. 14-23, TX. Deadline: May 1 
(early); May 22 (final). 6th annual fest brings together 
those who share a passion for the ever-mutating short 
cinema. Retrospectives & Special Programs have incl. 
programs of the short films of Robert Frank, Abbas 
Kiarostami & Mike Leigh. Submissions of films & videos 
50 min. or less are welcome. Awards: Finalists compete 
regardless of format, genre or category for the prestigious 
Gecko awards. Up to $25,000 in cash, services & in-kind 
prizes. Formats: 35mm, 16mm, 3/4", 1/2", Beta SP, super 
8, S-VHS. Preview on VHS. Entry fees: $30 (early); $35 
(final). Contact: Cinematexas. Dept. of Radio-TV-Film, 
Univ. of Texas, CMA 6.118, Austin, TX 78712; (512) 471- 
6497; fax: 471-4077; www.cinematexas.org; cinema 
texas@cinematexas.org 



What kind of wine goes 
with romantic comedy? 



BOSTON JEWISH FILM FESTI- 
VAL, Nov. 1-11, MA. Deadline: May 15. Fest is a non- 
competitive event, presenting the best contemporary 
films & videos from around the world that deal w/ Jewish 
themes. Fest has become one of the highlights of 
Boston's cultural calendar & is the best-attended Jewish 
event in the city, w/ an audience of nearly 10,000 
attending last year. Consistently receives excellent 
media coverage & has frequently been recognized for the 
excellence in programming by presenting narrative, doc, 
animated & experimental works. Cats: feature, doc, 
experimental, animation. Formats: Beta SP 1/2", 35mm, 
16mm. Preview on VHS. No entry fee. Contact: BJFF, 
1001 Watertown St., West Newton, MA 02465; (617) 
244-9899; fax: 244-9894; info@bjff.org; www.bjff.org 

BRECKENRIDGE FESTIVAL OF FILM, Sept. 13-16, CO. 
Deadlines: early, April 27 (scripts), May 25 (films); final, 
May 31 (scripts); June 22 (films). 21st annual fest pre- 
sents 4-day program of films, receptions, premieres, 
tributes, writers' seminars & film education activities, 
providing unique & varied film fare shown at venues 
throughout the community. Approx. 50 ind. U.S. & int'l 
films are presented from over 300 entries. Scripts should 
meet U.S. Motion Picture Industry standards & be 90- 
130 pgs in length. Cats: feature, doc, children, short, 



^ v This unique festival draws inspiration 

from its surroundings and provides fes- 
tival-goers more that a movie seat and 
a glass of wine. The Wine Country Film Festival, held in Calfiornia's Napa Valley, 
delights audiences with its winery tours and numerous outdoor screenings at unique 
venues. In the last 14 years the festival has grown from a simple three-day event to the 
current four, four-day weekend structure. Last year the festival received 326 entries 
resulting in a program of over 100 film from 32 countries. The recently addition of an 
Official Category to honor films from Bay Area filmmakers reasserts the festival's com- 
mitment to the unique voice of local filmmakers. Last year's festival tributes went to 
attendees Kirk Douglas, Richard Harris, and Rita Moreno. See listing. 



CONVERGENCE 
FILM/VIDEO/ANI- 
MATION FESTIVAL, 

Sept. 14-20, Rl. 
Deadline: June 1. 
Fest is presented as 
part of the Conver- 
gence Int'l Arts 
Festival & is seeking 
shorts 10 min. in 
length or less. Live 
action & animated 
works in all genres 
accepted in cats: 
doc, narrative, ex- 
perimental. $3,000 
in cash awards. 



programs over 200 films & videos from 43 countries tar- 
geted primarily for children ages 3-13. Fest presents 
films in contexts which encourage dialogue between 
filmmakers, children, parents & educators. Cats: Adult 
produced works-feature, short, TV, live action, animation 
& children-produced works, animation and live action 
(ages 3-13). Awards: Best of Fest Prize ($2,500), Jury 
Prize-Adult director ($2,500), Jury Prize-Child director 
($2,500) Whole Foods Market's Green Screen Prize 
($1,000), Liv Ullmann Peace Prize & Rights of the Child 
Prize. Formats: 35mm, 16mm, 3/4", Beta SP (NTSC). 
Preview on VHS (PAL or NTSC). Entry fee: $35 (short, 
less than 60 mins.); $75 (feature, 60 mins. or more); no 
fee for child-produced films (age 3-13). Contact: CICFF 
c/o Facets, 1517 West Fullerton Ave., Chicago, IL, 
60614; (773) 281-9075; fax: 929-0266; 
kidsfest@facets.org; www.cicff.org 

CHICAGO UNDERGROUND FILM FESTIVAL, Aug. 17-23, 
IL. Deadlines: April 7 (early); May 15 (final) 8th install- 
ment of Chicago's premiere independent film event, fest 
was created to promote films & videos that innovate in 
form, technique, or content & to present works that chal- 
lenge and transcend commercial expectations. Awards: 



Work must have 
been completed after Jan. 1, 1999. Formats: 35mm, 
Beta. Preview on VHS. Entry fee: $10. Contact: CFVAF, 
65 Weybosset St.. #39, Providence, Rl 02903; (401) 
621-1992; www.caparts.org; lynne@caparts.org 

HAMPTONS INTERNATIONAL FILM FESTIVAL, Oct. 17- 
21, NY Deadlines: May 11 (shorts); May 18 (early, fea- 
ture/doc); June 15 (final, feature/doc). 9th annual fest 
offers diverse programming w/ premieres by established 
filmmakers, breakthrough films by new directors & 
panel discussions w/ industry guests. Fest also offers 
programs for young videomakers. Cats: feature, doc, 
short, world cinema, films of conflict & resolution, young 
videomakers. Awards incl. Golden Starfish Fiction Film 
($180,000 value of in-kind goods & services); Golden 
Starfish Doc ($10,000 cash); Golden Starfish Short Film 
($5,000); Student showcase (5 undergrad & 5 grad) 
receive grants of $2,500 each. Fest also awards 
$25,000 for The Alfred R Sloan Foundation Award for 
Science & Technology and $25,000 for the section 
"Films of Conflict & Resolution," which in 2001 will 
focus on films from the former Yugoslavia. Formats: 
35mm, 16mm, Beta SP Preview on VHS. Accepting 
entries beginning April 30. Entry fees: $25 (shorts); $50 



48 THE INDEPENDENT April 2001 



(features/docs); $35 (early). Contact: HIFF, 630 9th Ave., 
Ste. 503, NY, NY 10036; (212) 765-8440; fax: 765-8524; 
hiff@hamptonsfest.org; www.hamptonsfilmfest.org 

HARDACRE FILM FESTIVAL, Aug. 4, IA. Deadline: June 
9. Fest recognizes excellence in independent cinema. 
Cats: feature, doc, short, animation, experimental, for- 
eign, student. Awards: Non-cash prizes. Formats: 
16mm, 35mm. Preview on VHS. Entry fee: $25. 
Contact: HFF, 417 E. 4th St., Tipton, IA 52772; (319) 
886-2080; fax: 886-6466; hardacres@aol.com; 
www.geo cities.com/hardacrefilmfest/ 

MARGARET MEAD FILM & VIDEO FESTIVAL, Nov., NY 
Deadline: May 11. Premiere U.S. fest for indie/doc film & 
video. Previewing doc films & videos; no restrictions on 
subject, length, or year of production. This year's special 
themes incl. social issues around the Human Genome 
Project & genetic engineering; cinema on Pacific Islands & 
Indonesia, youth-produced media. Makers whose works 
are selected receive pass to all fest events; limited finan- 
cial assistance & housing avail. After fest presentation, 
many titles packaged & tour to ind. film & community cen- 
ters, museums & universities as part of nat'l & int'l tour- 
ing fest. Cats: doc, short. Awards: no awards, some finan- 
cial assistance & honorarium. Formats: 35mm, 16mm, 
3/4", 1/2". Preview on VHS. No entry fee. Contact: MMFVF 
American Museum of Natural History, Central Park West at 
79th Street, New York, NY 10024; (212) 769-5305; fax: 
769-5329; meadfest@amnh.org; www.amnh.org/mead 

MILL VALLEY FILM FESTIVAL & VFEST, Oct. 4-14, CA. 
Deadline: May 31 (early); June 30 (final). Invitational, 
noncompetitive fest screens U.S. indie films in cats: fea- 
ture, doc, animated, short, interactive, children & exper- 
imental. Official Premieres Selection highlights feature- 
length narrative & doc premieres. Seminars bring in a 
stellar line-up of filmmakers & industry professionals. 
Fest incl. around 100 programs of ind. features, docs, 
shorts & video works, as well as interactive exhibits, 
tributes, seminars & special events. Entries must have 
been completed w/in previous 18 mo.; industrial, pro- 
motional, or instructional works not eligible; premieres & 
new works emphasized. Annual audiences est. at 
40,000. Awards: Audience & Jury awards for shorts. 
Formats: 35mm, 16mm, Beta SP Multimedia, Digital. 
Preview on VHS. Entry fees: $20 (early); $30 (final). 
Contact: IVIVFF, Mark Fishkin, Exec. Dir./Zoe Elton, Dir. of 
Programming, Film Inst, of N. Calif., Mill Creek Plaza, 38 
Miller Ave., Ste. 6, Mill Valley, CA 94941; (415) 383- 
5256; fax: 383-8606; finc@well.com; www.mvff.org 

MOVING PICTURE FESTIVAL OF DANCE ON FILM AND 
VIDEO, Oct., Canada. Deadline: May 30. Fest invites film- 
makers, choreographers and dance artists to submit film 
and video. Event is dedicated to exploring the intersec- 
tions of dance & the camera. Seeking "innovative work 
that goes beyond a simple document of choreography, 
that demonstrates the kinetic possibilities of movement 
recorded for the screen." Rough cuts will be considered if 
accompanied by a detailed description & schedule for 
completion. Awards: Grand Prize for Best Filmmaker for 
Canadian Films Premiered at Moving Pictures; plus prizes 
in choreography & doc cats. Formats: 16mm, 35mm, 
Beta SP Preview on VHS. Entry fees: $20 (CDN); $25 
(U.S.). Contact: MPF, 253 College St., #102, Toronto, 
Canada M5T 1R5; (416) 961-5424; fax: 961-5624; mov- 
ingpix@total.net; www.total.net/~movingp 



11 Call for Entries 




FILWl FESTIVAL 

i8th AnDnal Film/Video Festival 

Westhampton Beach Performing Arts Center 
May 3rd-6th, 2001 

Call or Write for Entry Forms (Due 4/1/01) 

Christopher Cooke, Director 

Long Island Film Festival 

c/o P.O. Box 13243 

Hauppauge, NY 1 1788 

1-800-762-4769 . (631) 853-4800 

From 10:00am-6pm, Mon-Fri 

or visit our website at www.lifilm.org 



CALL FOR ENTRIES • DEADLINE JUNE 1, 2001 




Now accepting entries 
for the fourth annual , ; 
Antimatter, a festival 
of innovative short film 
and video m Victoria, 
British Columbia, Canada 




NTIMATTER 

Festival of Underground Short Film & Viden 



BASIC CRITERIA: 

Independent productions, 
completed after Jan 1/99 
Any genre Max 30 mms. 
Victoria premiere 



FORMATS: 

16mm and vdeo 

VHS for preview/selection 



DEADLINES/FEES: 

Early May 4/2001 ($10) 
Fmai June 1/2001 ($15) 



INFO/FORMS: 

www.antimatter.ws info@antimatter.ws 250-385-3327 





Antimatter, F-1 322 Broa 



2A9 

roUgM** WAT'S ^MiH fip ^\ 

SEPT 14-23 2001 • VICTORIA BC CANADA 



- acknowledge rne assistance o' rhe ( anada t 



\.pril '001 THE INDEPENDENT 49 






V6RMONT 
-INTCRNflTIONfll 
FILM F6STIVAL 



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CRU FOR 6NTRI6S 

wrr and pence . thc € N VI ROM/Vie NT 
HUMAN RIGHTS AND JUSTICE 

D€flDLIN€ JULV 15 2001 



UUUJUJ.Vtiff.org 802.660.2600 

1 Main St., Suite 307, Burlington Vt 05401 

viff@together.net 




NEW ORLEANS FILM AND VIDEO FESTIVAL, Oct. 11-18, 
LA. Deadline: June 1; July 1 (late). 13th annual test fea- 
tures premieres, classic film retrospectives, panel dis- 
cussions & gala events. Entries of all lengths welcome. 
Entries must be completed after Jan. 1999. Top 
films/videos receive an engraved lucite Lumiere Award; 
other prizes to be announced. Films produced by 
Louisiana filmmakers eligible to win the LA Lumiere, LA 
Lagniappe & Best New Orleans Film. Cats: Any style or 
genre, animation, doc, experimental, short, feature, stu- 
dent, music video. Formats: 16mm, 3/4", 1/2", S-8, S- 
VHS, 35mm, super 8, Beta. Preview on VHS. Entry fee: 
$35 (U.S); $45 (int'l); $55 (late). Contact: NOFVF, Cinema 
16, 225 Baronne St., Ste. 1712, New Orleans, LA 70112; 
(504) 524-5271; fax: 529-2430; neworleansfilm- 
fest@worldnet.att.net; www.neworleansfilmfest.com 

ORLANDO FILM FESTIVAL, July 5-8, FL. Deadlines: April 
16; May 1 (late). Fest showcases approximately 120 
features & shorts presented in the collected programs. 
Networking & Special Awards presentations for compet- 
itive categories. Award-winning film producers present 
workshops on production & distribution. Features & 
shorts accepted in follwing cats: narrative, experimental, 
doc, animation. Awards: best in each cat. Formats: 
35mm, 16mm, DVD, DV, S-VHS, Hi-8. Preview on VHS. 
Entry fees: $25 (features, over 60 min.); $20 (shorts, 
under 60 min.) Contact: OFF, Patrick Cox, PCR 1020 
Wainwnght Dr., Orlando, FL 32765; (407) 365-2247; 
cox@bellsouth.net; www.orlandofilmfest.org 

PORTLAND LESBIAN, GAY, BISEXUAL, AND TRftiSGEN- 
DER FILM FESTIVAL, OR. Deadline: June 1. 5 annual 
fest seeking works by, for, about, or of interest to lesbians, 
gays, bisexual, or transgenders. Cats: doc, experimental, 
animation, narrative, shorts. Awards: Audience Awards in 
these cats: Best Short by Female/Best Short by Male, Best 
Feature, Best Feature Doc, Best Short Doc. Formats: 
35mm, 16mm, Beta SP Preview on VHS. No entry fee, ($5 
fee for return of screener, make checks payable to: 
Sensory Perceptions). Contact: PLGBTFF Sensory 
Perceptions, Attn: Programming Director, 818 SW 3rd. 
Ave. #1224, Portland, OR 97204; (503) 242-0818; fax: 
239-0026; maura@sensoryperceptions.org; www.sen 
soryperceptions.org 

RESFEST DIGITAL FILM FESTIVAL Touring Sept-Dec, 
San Fran, Seattle, Chicago, NYC, LA, London, Tokyo. 
Deadlines: May 4 (early): June 1 (final). 5th annual 
nat'l/int'l touring fest seeks short films/videos shot in 
any format but finished digitally & output to tape & digi- 
tal feature films output to video or 35mm. Fest's mission 
is to expose & inspire audiences across the country & 
the world w/ new films, by new filmmakers, made w/ 
new technology. A dynamic line-up of film screenings, 
in-depth panel discussions, technology presentations & 
parties. Cats: doc, experimental, feature, animation, web 
animation, interactive software. Awards: Audience 
Choice Award w/ cash prizes. Formats: DigiBeta (pre- 
ferred), Beta SP 35 mm, Mini DV, DV CAM, 35mm. 
Preview on: VHS (NTSC/PAL/SECAM), Beta SP (NTSC), 
Mini DV (NTSC). Tapes returned w/ s.a.s.e. Entry fees: 
$15 (early); $20 (final). Contact: RDFF, 601 W. 26th St. 
llthfl., New York, NY 10001: (212) 217-1154, fax: 937- 
7134 resfest@resfest.com; www.resfest.com 

RHODE ISLAND INTERNATIONAL FILM FESTIVAL, Aug. 
8-13, R'l. Deadline: June 1. Fest is a showcase for int'l 



independent filmmakers & their work which screened 15 
world premieres & 33 U.S. premieres last year. Fest 
accepts shorts, features & videos produced after 1998. 
Cats incl. dramatic, doc, experimental, foreign, shorts, 
animation & children's. Filmmakers may enter their films 
either in or out of competition. Awards incl. Best Film, 
Best Animation & Best Short; all films will be eligible for 
Fest Favorites awards. Formats: 16mm, 35mm, Beta 
SP/SX, DV, S-VHS, 1/2". Preview on VHS. Entry fee: $40. 
Contact: RUFF, Box 162, Newport, Rl 02840; 96 2nd St., 
Newport, Rl 02840; (401) 847-7590/861-4445; fax: 
847-7590; flicksart@aol.com; www.film-festival.org 

SEATTLE LESBIAN & GAY FILM FESTIVAL, Oct. 19-25, 
WA. Deadline: June 1 (early); July 15 (final). Presented 
by Seattle's Three Dollar Bill Cinema, fest invites sub- 
missions of films & videos of every genre. TDB Cinema 
was founded in 1995 & is staffed year-round by volun- 
teers who produce fest. Once film is submitted, it may 
not be withdrawn. Incl. s.a.s.e. for return. All submis- 
sions must incl. entry form. Cats: feature, short, doc, 
experimental. Awards: Best Lesbian Feature, Best Short 
Film, Three Dollar Bill Award for Excellence ($3,000 
total). Formats: 35mm, 16mm, 3/4", 1/2", Beta. Preview 
on VHS. Entry fees: $10 (early); $15 (final). Contact: 
SLGFF, Three Dollar Bill Cinema, 1122 E. Pike St. #1313, 
Seattle, WA 98122; (206) 323-4274; fax: 323-4275; 
filmfest@drizzle.com; www.seattlequeerfilm.com 

SEATTLE UNDERGROUND FILM FESTIVAL. Oct. 5-13, 
WA. Deadline: June 1. Fest is "dedicated to bringing you the 
very best of avant-garde, experimental & offbeat short & 
feature films from around the world." Last year's fest 
screened over 130 films to an audience of over 2,000. All 
lengths, topics & languages acceptable. Cats: experimen- 
tal/avant-garde, narrative, doc, comedy, animation. Entry 
forms avail, on web site. Cats: feature, short, experimen- 
tal, video. Awards: Best Short Film, Best Feature Film, Best 
Experimental Film, Best Video. Formats: video, 16mm, 
35mm, super 8. Preview on VHS. Entry fee: $25. Contact: 
SUFF Box 4477, Seattle. WA 98104; acmecinema@ 
aol.com; www.seattleundergroundfilm.com 

WINE COUNTRY FILM FESTIVAL, July 19-Aug. 12, CA. 
Deadline: May 1st. 15th annual fest held in Napa & 
Sonoma Valleys, 60 miles north of San Francisco. A com- 
petitive & non-competitive int'l showcase of 100+ fea- 
ture films, shorts, docs & animation. Cats: feature, doc, 
short, animation. Awards: Best First Feature, David L. 
Wolper Best Doc Prize, Best Short & Audience Choice 
Awards. Formats: 35mm, 16mm, DV. Preview on VHS. 
Entry Fee: $35. Contact: WCFF, Box 303, Glen Ellen, CA 
95442; (707) 996-2536; fax: 996-6964; wcfilmfest® 
aol.com; www.winecountryfilmfest.com 

WOODS HOLE FILM FESTIVAL, July 28-Aug. 4. MA. 
Deadline: May 1. Fest "is a showcase for independent film 
w/ special emphasis on regional filmmakers & cinematog- 
raphy." Formats: 1/2", Beta SR 16mm, 35mm, DVD. 
Preview on VHS. Entry fees: $25 (shorts); $40 (features). 
Contact: WHFF Judy Laster, 50 Longwood Ave., Ste. 1020, 
Brookline, MA 02446; (617) 232-4722; fax: 975-0285; 
woho3@aol.com; www.woodsholefilmfestival.com 

YOUNG PEOPLE'S FILM & VIDEO FESTIVAL. June. OR. 
Deadline: May 11. Founded in 1975, annual juried survey 
of outstanding work by grade & high school students from 
the Northwest (OR, WA. ID, MT. UT, AK). A jury reviews 



50 THE INDEPENDENT April 2001 



The Independent Feature Project 
presents the 23rd Annual 

IFP MARKET 

September 30 -October 5, 2001 
New York City 



IF P 





N INITE OSSIBILITIES. 

START THE JOURNEY NOW. 



2001 CALL FOR ENTRIES: 

Early deadline: May 18 
Final deadline: June 8 

Filmmakers & screenwriters: 
submit features, works-in-progress, 
scripts, shorts, and documentaries 
to the original Market devoted to 
American independent filmmaking. 

FOR AN APPLICATION: 
visit www.ifp.org 
or contact the IFP at 
104 West 29th Street, 12th Floor 
New York, NY 10001-5310 
P: 212.465.8200 
F: 212.465.8525 
E: marketinfo@ifp.org 



^ 



\ > 
\ 





(^S^^ZS) 




CANADIAN INTERNATIONAL 



[FILM] FESTIVAL 





Over oO of the 
hottest films from 
around the world. 





APRIL QQ MAY g TORONTO 



Expanded roster of professional 
development, networking and 
market events, including the 




entries & assembles a program for public presentation. 
Entries must have been made w/in previous 2 yrs. Cats: 
Any style or genre, student. Awards: Judges Certificates 
awarded. Formats: 16mm, S-8, 3/4", 1/2", Hi-8, CD- 
ROM, S-VHS, super 8, computer disk. Preview on VHS. No 
entry fee. Contact: YPFVF, Kristen Konsterlie, Fest 
Coordinator, NW Film Film Center, 1219 SW Park Ave., 
Portland, OR 97205; (503) 221-1156; fax: 294-0874; 
info@nwfilm.org; www.nwfilm.org 

Foreign 

ATLANTIC FILM FESTIVAL, Sept. 14-22, Canada. 
Deadline: June 1. 20th annual competitive fest, located 
in coastal Halifax, is a nine-day celebration of film 
known for its warm & festive atmosphere. Sections incl. 
Atlantic Focus, Canadian Perspectives, International 
Perspectives, The Late Shift, Frame by Frame (anima- 
tion) & Special Programs. Cats: Any style or genre, 
Children. Awards: Cash awards. Formats: 35mm, 
16mm, Beta SP Preview on VHS. Entry fee: $25. Contact: 
AFF, Box 36139, Halifax, Canada B3J 3S9; (902) 422- 
3456; fax: 422-4006; festival@atlanticfilm.com; 
www.atlanticfilm.com 

BRITISH SHORT FILM FESTIVAL, Sept., UK. Deadline: 
June 1. During the course of a week filmmakers are given 
the opportunity to screen their films at a prestigious cine- 
ma in the heart of London. Fest also enables filmmakers to 
network w/ like-minded people & industry pros. Short films 
of all genres are accepted (40 min. or under). Fest is com- 
petitive (this year's cats incl. Best American Short Film, 
Best Int'l Film, Best British Production, Best 
Cinematography, Audience Award) and awards will be 
given. Formats: 16mm, Super 16mm, 35mm, Beta SP PAL. 
Preview on VHS. No entry fee. Contact: BSFF, Lisa Murray, 
Fest Coordinator, B202 Centre House, 56 Wood Lane, 
London, W12 7SB, England; Oil 44 181 743-8000 x. 
62222; fax: 44 181 740-8540; info@britishshortfilm 
fest.com; www.britishshortfilm fest.com 

CINEMANILA INTERNATIONAL FILM FESTIVAL, June 
28-July 11, Philippines. Deadline: May 15. Over 75 crit- 
ically acclaimed films from the Phillipines & around the 
world will be screened. Fest has three main sections: 
Philippine Cinema, Asian Cinema World Cinema, and 
Digital Cinema. Awards: There will be a competition level 
for full-length, short, and documentary films. Formats: 
16mm, 35mm, Betacam. DV. Preview on VHS. No entry 
fee. Contact: CIFF, 76-B Scout Gandi St., Barangay 
Lagmg Handa, Quezon City, Philippines; tel/fax: Oil 63 
2 371 8821; miff@cinemanila.com. ph 

FANTASY FILMFEST, July 25-Aug. 22, Germany. 
Deadline: May 21. 15th annual fest is held in six German 
cities (Frankfurt, Cologne. Munich, Berlin, Stuttgart, 
Hamburg) and accepts features & shorts in the follow- 
ing cats: science fiction, horror, thriller & killer, anima- 
tion, fantasy & action adventure. Films must be at least 
a German premiere. Submit preview tape & press kit. 
Formats: 35mm. Preview on VHS/DVD. No entry fee; $25 
(for return of tape). Contact: FF, Rosebud Entertainment 
Veranstaltungs + Medien GMBH, Fregestr 36, 12161 
Berlin, Germany; Oil 49 30 861 45 32; fax: 49 30 861 
45 39; rosebud_entertainment@t-online.de, www.fan 
tasyfilmfest.com 

GIFFONI FILM FESTIVAL, July 14-21, Italy. Deadline: 
June 5. 31st annual fest shows "film & short films of 



high artistic & technical value linked to the problems of 
the pre-adolescent world." Four competitions are held w/ 
one non-competitive cat. Entry form avail, on web site. 
Awards: Gold, Silver & Bronze Gryphon. Formats: 35mm, 
1/2". Preview on VHS. No entry fee. Contact: GFR Piazza 
Umberto I, 84095, Giffoni Valle Piana, Salerno, Italy; Oil 
390 89 868 544; fax: 390 89 866 111; giffonif@gif 
foniff.it; www.giffoniff.it 

GUERNSEY LILY INTERNATIONAL AMATEUR FILM AND 
VIDEO FESTIVAL, Sept. 21-23, U.K. Deadline: May 31. 
Fest seeks amateur film & videos "made for love, w/ no 
financial reward & w/out professional assistance other 
than processing, copying, or sound transfer." Works must 
be 30 min. or less. Awards: Cash & non-cash prizes. 
Formats: super 8, 8mm, 16mm, S-VHS, 1/2". Preview on 
VHS. Entry fee: £7 ($10). Contact: GLIAFVF, Guernsey 
Tourist Board, Box 23, St. Peter Port, UK GY1 3AN ; Oil 
481 238 147; fax: 481 235 989; landjoz® guernsey.net 

IMPAKT FESTIVAL, Oct. 2-7, Netherlands. Deadline: May 
15. Fest is an int'l platform for innovative, new film, 
video, music, installations & new media. This year there 
are six thematic programs and an expanded Panorama 
program. Each of the thematic programs will focus on a 
current social or artistic development. The Panorama 
program present a broad overview of the best new 
audiovisual productions from the past year. Preview on 
VHS. No entry fee. Contact: IF, Box 735, 3500 AS, 
Utrecht, The Netherlands ; Oil 310 30 294 4493; fax: 
310 30 294 4163; impakt@xs4all.nl 

INTERNATIONAL FILM FESTIVAL FOR CHILDREN & 
YOUNG PEOPLE, July 2-13, Uruguay. Deadline: May 5. 
Annual fest presents overview of new films for children & 
adolescents, facilitates access to best & most diverse 
material created today & encourages distribution of new 
films for children. Entries cannot have been shown in 
Uruguay & must incl. complete tech info, five-line synopsis 
of work, dialogue script in English & VHS copy of film. Cats: 
children, animation, doc, feature, short. Awards: Prizes for 
fiction, animation, doc; UNESCO prize to director of best 
Latin American or Caribbean film or video; Guri prize for 
best of fest; UNICEF prize to best film/video promoting chil- 
dren , s rights; OCIC prize to best film/video enhancing 
human values, and Children's Jury award. Formats: 
35mm, 16mm, 3/4", 1/2". Preview on VHS. No entry fee. 
Contact: IFFCYP Ricardo Casas, Cinemateca Uruguaya, 
Lorenzo Carnelli 1311, 11200 Montevideo, Uruguay; fax: 
Oil 598 409 4572; cinemuy@chasque.apc.org 

LEEDS INTERNATIONAL FILM FESTIVAL, Sep. 27-0ct. 
11, UK. Deadline: June 16. Fest welcomes film, video & 
multimedia entries of any length incl. docs, animation, 
experimental and films for children. Entries must have 
been completed after July 2000 & not submitted to Leeds 
before. Cats: feature, short, doc, animation, educational. 
Awards: Louis le Prince Int'l Short Film Competition 
(Shorts & Animations) & Leeds New Directors 
Competition (features by first-time directors). Formats: 
35mm, 16mm, Beta SP (Prints w/separate sound & 
DigiBeta tapes cannot be screened). Preview on VHS. No 
entry fee (incl. s.a.s.e. for return). Contact: LIFE Fest 
Office, Town Hall, The Headrow, Leeds LSI 3AD, UK; Oil 
44 113 247 8389/8398; fax: 44 113 247 8397; filmfes- 
tival@ leeds.gov.uk; www.leedsfilm.com 

MANCHESTER INTERNATIONAL SHORT FILM AND 
VIDEO FESTIVAL, Oct 20-28, England. Deadline: June 1. 



52 THE INDEPENDENT April 2001 



6th annual test seeks submissions from nat'l & int'l 
filmmakers to contribute to the forthcoming event. Cats 
incl. super 8, low/no budget, new digital media, women 
in film & TV, lesbian & gay, experimental & animation, 
British New Wave & Int'l Panorama. Kinofilm Special 
Cat. this year will be "Desire." Enter your 5 min. films on 
"Desire" for the oppportunity to win a £1,000 ($1,455) 
bursary. Preview on VHS. No entry fee. Contact: MISFVF, 
Judd Cullen, 42 Edge St. Manchester M4 1HN England 
Tel: Oil 44 161 288 2494; fax: 44 161 281 1374; 
kino.submissons@good.co.uk; www.kinofilm.org.uk 

MENIGOUTE INTERNATIONAL FESTIVAL OF ORNITHO- 
LOGICAL FILMS, Oct. 29-Nov. 3, France. Deadline: May 
15. 6-day test, founded in '85, shows about 40 films con- 
cerning ornithological subjects, as well as all wildlife (wild 
mammals, reptiles or swimming creatures). Associations 
& orgs concerned w/ environmental issues invited to pre- 
sent activities in various forums. 15-20 artists present 
photographs, paintings & sculpture. Entries must be 
French premieres. Cats: Wildlife/environmental. Awards: 
10,000FF-30,000FF ($l,400-$4,200). Formats: 16mm, 
Beta SP (no digital or NTSC video). Preview on VHS. No 
entry fee. Contact: MIFOF, Marie Christine Brouard, B.P 5, 
79340 Menigoute, France; Oil 33 5 49 69 90 09; fax: 33 
5 49 69 97 25; www.menigoute-festival.org 

SAO PAULO INTERNATIONAL SHORT FILM FESTIVAL, 

Aug. 23-Sept. 1, Brazil. Deadline: May 31. Founded in 
1990, having a cultural & noncompetitive section, test is 
the leading event for the short format in Latin America. Its 
aims are to exhibit short films produced in Brazil, Latin 
American films as well as int'l films that may contribute 
to the development of the short film concerning its lan- 
guage specific shape & way of production. Fest features: 
Brazilian Panorama, Latin American & Int'l Showcase 
sections. Entries should have a max running time of 35 
min. All genres accepted. Films must have been produced 
in '99/2000. Formats: 16mm, 35mm. Preview on VHS. No 
entry fee. Contact: SPSFF, Zita Carvalhosa, Festival 
Director, Associacao Cultural Kinoforum, Rua Simao 
Alvarez, 784/2, Sao Paulo-SP Brazil 05417; Oil 55 11 
852 9601; fax: 55 11 852 9601; spshort@ibm.net; 
www.estacao.ignet.com.br/kinoforum/saoshortfest 

SOUTH ASIAN DOCUMENTARY FILM FESTIVAL, Sept., 
Nepal. Deadline: June. Fest, located in Kathmandu, 
offers both competitive & non-competitive cats for docs 
on South Asian subjects made after Aug. 1, 1999. Full- 
length docs given preference. Selected films may tour 
South Asia. Awards: Cash awards. Formats: 16mm, 
35mm, U-matic, Beta SR Preview on VHS. Contact: Film 
South Asia CE99, GPO Box 7251, Kathmandu, Nepal; Oil 
977 1 543 333; fax: 977 1 521 013; fsa@mos.com.np; 
www.himalmag.com/fsa 

VALLADOLID INTERNATIONAL FILM FESTIVAL, Oct. 26- 
Nov. 3, Spain. Deadline: June 30. Fest seeks "films of 
artistic quality which contribute to the knowledge of 
worldwide cinematography." Work must have been pro- 
duced in '00-'01 & not previously screened in Spain. 
Formats: 35mm (official selection); 35mm & 16mm 
(Time of History, doc competition). Cats: feature, short. 
Awards: Cash prizes.. Formats: 16mm, 35mm. Preview 
on VHS. No entry fee. Contact: Teatro Calderon, Calle 
Leopoldo Cano, s/n, 47003 Valladolid, Spain; Oil 34 983 
305 700; fax: Oil 34 983 309 835; festvalladolid@ 
seminci.com; www.seminci.com 



New England's Finest Showcase of Independent Film & Video 

Northampton Film Festival 

Oct. 31 - Nov 4, 2001 
Northampton, MA 



festival should be" 



fflflfeV 



Accepting films and videos 
from all of North America 



Call for Entries 



tel: 413-588-3471 
fax:413-584-4432 
filmfest@nohofilm.org 



Deadline June 30 

For information and an entry form: 

visit www.nohofilm.org 

Northampton Film Festival 

351 Pleasant St., No. 213 

Northampton, NIA 01060 



THE 8TH ANNUAL 



CHICAGO HCBOIMD 



&14/ s^Vi/ \^#N* 



CALL FOR ENTRIES, 2001! 

NRES AND FORMATS ELIGIBLE Iph.773.327.345B 

DEADLINE: APRIL 7TH, 2001 ?Jf cu ™J 
FINAL DEADLINE: MAY 15TH, 2001 Iimfowiff.ih 



\ r nl \V1 THE INDEPENDENT 53 



(7j±rjflst^ i) 



notices of relevance to aivf members are listed 
free of charge as space permits. the 
independent reserves the right to edit for 
length and makes no guarantees about repeti- 
tions of a given notice. limit submissions to 60 
words & indicate how long info will be current, 
deadline: 1st of the month, two months prior to 
cover date (e.g., may 1 for july issue). complete 
contact info (name, address & phone) must 
accompany all notices. send to: independent 
notices, fivf, 304 hudson st., 6th fl, ny, ny 10013. 
we try to be as current as possible, but double- 
check before submitting tapes or applications. 

Competitions 

austin film festival prime time competition: 

Call for entries. Two cats: sitcom & drama (based on a 
pre-existing show). Awards: $1,500 for each category 
winner. Airfare compensation up to $500, hotel compen- 
sation up to $500, VIP pass to Heart of Film 
Screenwriters Conference (Oct. 11-18) & AFF bronze 
typewriter award for each category winner. Entry fee: 
$25. Deadline: April 15. Contact: (512) 478-4795. 

FILM IN ARIZONA SCREENWRITING COMPETITION: To 

promote screenplays set in Arizona to Hollywood creative 
community. Nat'l competition for original feature-length 
screenplays (90 mm., 130 max. pgs). 85% of screen- 
play's locations must be authentic AZ. Industry standard 
format req'd. Screenplays that are currently optioned or 
have been previously sold or produced are not eligible. 
Awards: $1,000 Cox Comm. Award, industry meetings, 
pro script notes & other donated prizes. Entry fees & 
deadlines: $30 (April 15), $40 (May 15). Contact: Wendy 
Carroll, "Film In Arizona" Screenwriting Competition, 
3800 N. Central Ave., Bldg. D, Phoenix, AZ 85012; (602) 
280-1380; hotline: 280-1384; film@azcommerce.com; 
www.azcommerce.com/mopic.htm 

HOLLYWOOD "FINAL-CUT" SCREENPLAY COMPETI- 
TION supports quality scripts from around the world. 
Character driven, feature length, standard format scripts 
accepted. 1st place prize: $1,000 & a scene shot w/ pro- 
fessional actors & crew. Entry fee: $45. Deadline: Aug. 1. 
Contact: GLAdams Enterprises, 1626 N. Wilcox Ave., 
#382 , Hollywood, CA 90028; www.finalcutcontest.com 

NATIONAL SCREENWRITING COMPETITION rewards 
screenwriters for outstanding writing. Submitted scripts 
evaluated based upon concept, structure, character, cin- 
ematic quality & superior writing. Winning entries con- 
sidered for possible production or development. Entry 
fee: $45. Awards: 1st, $2500; 2nd, $500; 3rd, $250. 
Deadline: June 30. Contact: Seamus O'Fionnghusa, Dir., 
Nat'l Screenwriting Competition, 145 Broad St., 
Matawan, NJ 07747; (732) 583-2138, fax-. 566-7336; 
director@skyweb.net; www.nationalscreenwriting.com 

OHIO INDEPENDENT SCREENPLAY AWARDS: Call for 
entries for Screenplay Awards. All genres accepted. 
Prizes incl. $1,000, screenplay reading at the Ohio Ind. 
Film Festival in Nov., submission to LA literary agent & 
subscription to SCR(i)PT magazine. Entry fee: $40 per 
screenplay (postmarked by May 15); $60 (postmarked 
by June 1). Contact: OIFF, 2273 West 7th St., Cleveland, 
OH 44113; (216) 781-1755; Ohiolndie FilmFest@ 
juno.com; www.ohiofilms.com 



RHODE ISLAND INTERNATIONAL FILM FESTIVAL 
SCREENPLAY COMPETITION: Created to recognize cre- 
ativity, innovation & art of storytelling. Scripts must not 
have been sold or optioned prior to entry. Entry fee: $30. 
Grand prize: $2,000 in cash & prizes plus staged reading 
of work. Deadline: May 1. Contact: Eleyne Austen 
Sharp, RIFF, Box 162, Newport, Rl 02840; (401) 861-4445; 
fax: 847-7590; flicksart@aol.com; www. film-festival.org 

SCRIPTAPALOOZA 3RD ANNUAL SCREENWRITING 



COMPETITION: Grand prize $25,00i 
marked by April 16 ($50). Contact: 
Scriptapalooza, 7775 Sunset 
Blvd. PMB #200. Hollywood, 
CA 90046; (323) 654-5809; 
info@scriptapalooza.com; 
www.scriptapalooza.com 



Deadlines: post- 



SCRIPTAPALOOZA TV 
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ated to open a new door 
for the aspiring writer & 
expand competition arena to 
incl. a wider spectrum of 
writing opportunities. Pilots, 
sitcoms & 1 hr. episodics 
accepted. Entry fee: $35. 
Deadline: May 15. Contact: 
Scriptapalooza TV, 7775 
Sunset Blvd., PMB #200, 
LA, CA 90046; (323) 654- 
5809; info@scriptapa 
looza.com; www.scriptapalooza.com 




NEW MEDIA WORKSHOP: "Crossover— New Opportunity 
for Innovative Filmmakers" is an intensive retreat bringing 
together indie filmmakers & new media pros to re-imag- 
ine & re-shape digital media on the Internet. Designed to 
combine "old media" storytelling & "new media" interac- 
tivity, the first 5-day workshop is scheduled for Feb. 2002. 
Preliminary appls. due late May. Travel & accommoda- 
tions covered. More info: www.weblab.org/crossover; 
www.weblab.org/crossover 

REELMOTION I & II VIDEO WORKSHOP: Call for entries. 
If you're an emerging indie film/videomakers living in 
British Columbia, send us a sample of your work. Jury 
chooses up to 30 emerging artists from throughout B.C. 
to work w/ professional mentors in the four-day Reel 
**• A Motion program at the BC Festival of the Arts, May 



The Stars at Night 
are Big and Bright 

The Heart of Film Screenplay Competition 
, provides peer recognition, education opportu- 
nities & exposure to screenplay artists whose 
work shows promise of excellence. Each year, 
i competition accepts feature length scripts in two eat- 
eries: Adult/Family and Comedy. Local judges evaluate 
submissions in the first two rounds of competition. 
Winners are subsequently chosen from the remaining 
submissions by a group of industry writers and produc- 
ion companies, with the final selection being made at the festival's 8th annu- 
al OGtober event The 2000 competition received over 3400 scripts. See listing. 



The 2000 Emeritus 
Award winners 
were Paul 
Mazursky and 
David Chase. 



SLAMDANCE SCREENPLAY COMPETITION 2001: 

Screenplays must not have been previously optioned, 
purchased, or produced (see entry form for other rules). 
12 recognized. Prizes incl. cash, software, plus submis- 
sion to a major literary agency & major studio. Entry 
fees: $40-$50. Deadline: July 23. Contact: Larry 
Hansen; (323) 466-1786; fax: 466-1784; lhansen@ 
slamdance.com; www.slamdance.com 

WOODSTOCK SOUND & VISION COMPETITION, featuring 
scored premieres of winning short films/videos. Juried 
competition seeks unscored films/videos under 5 min. A 
team of veteran & cutting edge composers incl. Richard 
Horowitz [The Sheltering Sky) will score the films/videos 
of 10 finalists. Combined works will be screened during 
the Woodstock Film Festival, Sept. 20-23. Select scores 
will be performed live. Deadline: May 1. Entry fee: $50. 
Contact: WFF, Box 1406, Woodstock, NY 12498; (845) 
679-4265; fax: (509) 479-5414; info@woodstockfilm 
festival.com; www.woodstockfilmfestival.com 

Conferences • Workshops 
institute of videography's annual convention 

& TRADE EXHIBITION, May 2-3. Event showcases the 
latest technology & services in DV production. Event incl. 
full schedule of seminars & workshops on the needs of 
today's video production community: from web-stream- 
ing video to panel discussions on all key business top- 
ics. 10V welcomes non-members & offers free conven- 
tion pre-registration service & convention info via web 
site. Contact.- 44 (0) 20 8502 3817; www.iov.co.uk 



29-June 3. Eligibility: B.C. emerging indie film/videomak- 
ers 17 yrs. of age or older, who have prior exp. in film or 
video production & who have completed at least one 
short. Deadline: March 23. For entry & submission req., 
contact: Reel Motion, BC Festival of the Arts, 100-850 
Blanshard St., Victoria, B.C. V8W 2H2 Canada : (250) 
920-4118; fax: 356-0092; media@bcfestivaloft 
hearts. bc.ca; www.bcfestivalofthearts.bc.ca 

Films • Tapes Wanted 

FILM STUDENTS— CALL FOR ENTRIES: Angelus 
Awards Student Film Festival accepting submissions 
through July 1. Cash prizes & gifts. Screenings will be 
held on Oct. 27 at the Director's Guild of America in 
Hollywood. Contact: (800) 874-0999; www.angelus.org 

FILMS/VIDEOS WANTED for Time Warner (public access 
TV) in Manhattan & Brooklyn entitled: SNACK-ON-ARTS. 
Artists submit your work. 15 min. max. Contact: Box 
050050, Brooklyn, NY 11205; snacontt@hotmail.com 

LOUISIANA VIDEO SHORTS FESTIVAL: Aug. 25. Entry fee: 
$15 (May 18, postmark); $20 (June 1, postmark). Fest is 
open to all Lousiana residents, LA natives in other states 
& LA students at school out of state. Cats: experimental, 
animation, music video, drama, doc, PSA, whatever. 
Entries must be 9 min. or less, produced in any film, 
video, or computer animation format but submitted on 
Beta SR 3/4", S-VHS. VHS or Hi-8/8mm. There's youth 
category for entrants between the ages of 13-18. Contact: 
NOVAC. 4840 Banks St., New Orleans. LA 70119; (504) 
486-9192; fax: 486-9229; novac@neosoft.com; 
NOVACVideo@aol.com; www.novacvideo.org 



54 THE INDEPENDENT April 2001 



MICROCINEMA, INC./BLACKCHAIR PRODUCTIONS is 

accepting short video, film & digital media submissions 
ot 15 min. or less on an ongoing basis for the monthly 
screening program Independent Exposure. Artists quali- 
fy for a non-exclusive distrib deal, incl. additional license 
fees for int'l offline & online sales. Looking for short nar- 
rative, alternative, humorous, dramatic, animation, etc. 
Works selected may continue on to nat'l & int'l venues 
for additional screenings. Submit VHS or S-VHS (NTSC 
preferred) labeled w/ name, title, length, phone # and 
any support materials incl. photos. Submissions will not 
be returned. Contact: Microcinema, Inc., 2318 2nd Ave., 
#313-A, Seattle, WA 98121; (206) 568-6051; info@ 
microcinema.com; www.microcinema.com 

REEL ALTERNATIVE FILM SALON, Brooklyn's original 
microcinema featuring indie filmmakers of color, seeks 
film & script submissions for 2nd season. All genres & 
formats welcome. Special interest in animation for April. 
Film (submitted on VHS) & script submissions must incl. 
synopsis, bio & $10 (check/m.o.). Films screened 
monthly & scripts staged quarterly. Contact; Sheryl 
Ellison, IGH Multimedia, 655 Fulton St., Ste. 139, 
Brooklyn, NY 11217; (718) 670-3616; ighmultimedia@ 
excite.com; www.ighmultimedia.com 

THE SHORT LIST, showcase for int'l short films, airs 
nat'ly on PBS stations. Licenses all genres, 30 sec. to 19 
min. Produced in association w/ Kodak Worldwide 
Independent Filmmakers Program & Cox Channel 4. 
Awards 5 Kodak product grants annually. Submit on VHS 
Appl. form avail, on web site. Contact: fax: (619) 462- 
8266; ShortList@mail.sdsu.edu; www.theshortlist.ee 

SOUTHWEST ALTERNATE MEDIA PROJECT seeks short 
films of up to 28 min. to air on The Territory (longest-run- 
ning PBS showcase of short films, airing on 13 PBS sta- 
tions in TX). Artists of chosen works paid $35/min. 
Deadline: April 15. Send VHS (NTSC) to: The Territory, 
Mary Lampe, SWAMP 1519 W Main, Houston, TX 77006; 
(713) 522-8592; fax: 522-0953; mmlampe@swamp.org 

THIRD WORLD NEWSREEL, one of the oldest alternative 
media organizations in U.S., is seeking film & video sub- 
missions of short & feature length docs, narratives, 
experimental & other works attentive to intersections of 
race, class & gender. Projects that address other issues 
of political & social interest also welcome. Formats: 1/2" 
VHS tapes. Send submissions, synopsis of the film & 
director's bio to: Third World Newsreel, Attn: Sherae 
Rimpsey, 545 Eighth Ave., New York, NY 10018; (212) 
947-9277; fax: 594-6417; twn@twn.org; www.twn.org 

Publications 

iffcon 2001-international film financing con- 
FERENCE transcripts of 8th conf. avail. IFFCON is N. 
America's premiere financing event for indie film. Topics 
discussed by int'l financiers & producers incl. "Pitch 
Perfect" & "Now What? Independent Filmmaking in the 
21st Century." Send $46 to: IFFCON, 360 Ritch St., San 
Francisco, CA 94107; (415) 281-9777; www.iffcon.com 

JOURNAL OF FILM & VIDEO seeks written reviews of 
Univ. Film & Video Assoc, member films for possible incl. 
in journal. Send approx. 5 double-spaced pgs to: Temple 
Univ., Dept. of Film, 14E Annenberg Hall, Philadelphia, 
PA 19122; (215) 204-8472; lerickson3@aol.com 



Roy W. Dean Film Grant 
• , h , for 2001 , 

is on the web at " 

www.fromtheheartproductions.com 




It is now $60,000.00 and growing. 

You are cordially invited to the National Arts 

Club on April 27, 2001 at 7pm to hear the 

finalist of the NYC grant "pitch" their projects 

and see who wins. Come celebrate with us, 

it is an evening dedicted to 

documentary /independent filmmaking. 

RSVP 212 689 5150, Carole Dean 



ROM THEy§ !£ART r 

h n i) u c t i o n s 



From the Heart Productions 866 689 5150 



training 



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Beginning, intermediate, and 
advanced classes are offered 
monthly. 



The Wexner Center for the Arts 
is an Avid Authorized Education 
Center serving Ohio, Indiana, 
Michigan, Western Pennsylvania, 
and Kentucky. 

Call for more information 

Maria Troy, 674 292-7617 

wexner center for the arts 
the ohio state university 
1871 north high street 
columbus, ohio 43210 
www.wexarts.org 



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April 2001 THE INDEPENDENT 55 



Resources • Funds 

8xlOGLOSSY.COM: Online artists' co-op offers free list- 
ing for all actors, technicians & organizations in directo- 
ry & searchable database, free email address (can even 
be forwarded by fax or letter), free use of bulletin board. 
Send s.a.s.e. to: Jim Lawter, 37 Greenwich Ave, #1-6, 
Stamford, CT 06902; www.8xl0glossy.com 

ALLIANCE OF CANADIAN CINEMA TELEVISION & RADIO 
ARTISTS (ACTRA) announces new, innovative program 
that supports low-budget filmmaking. Aims to increase 
volume of Canadian-made films. ACTRA represents over 
16,000 film, TV & commercial performers across Canada 
& wishes to bring these performers to independent film. 
Contact: Alex Gill, Comm. Din, (416) 928-2278 x. 208; or 
John Wright, Angus Reid Group, (416) 324-2900. 

FLINTRIDGE FOUNDATION AWARDS: Visual artists who 
live & work in CA, OR & WA & whose work demonstrates 
high artistic merit for 20 yrs. or more are invited to apply 
for 2001/2002 Flintridge Foundation Awards for Visual 
Artists. 6 artists from CA & 6 from OR/WA will be select- 
ed to receive unrestricted grants of $25,000 each. 
Applicants should work in disciplines of fine arts or craft 
media & have sustained a 9 months-per-year residency 
in CA, OR, or WA for the last 3 years. Artists cannot be of 
current nat'l renown. Deadline; April 11. Contact; FFA for 
VA, 1040 Lincoln Ave., Ste. 100, Pasadena, CA 91103; 
fax: (626) 744-9256; FFAVA@jlmoseleyco.com 

FUND FOR JEWISH DOCUMENTARY FILMMAKING offers 
grants up to $50,000 for production/completion of origi- 
nal films & videos that interpret Jewish history, cultured 



identity to diverse public audiences. Applicants must be 
U.S. citizens or permanent residents. Priority given to 
works-in-progress addressing critical issues, can be 
completed w/in 1 year of award & have broadcast poten- 
tial. Deadline: April 5. Contact: Nat'l Foundation for 
Jewish Culture, 330 7th Ave., 12th fl„ NY, NY 10001; 
(212) 629-0500 x. 205; www.jewishculture.org 

GRANTS-IN-AID avail, to qualified candidate to attend 
47th Robert Flaherty Film Seminar held in upstate NY 
June 15-22. Awards range from $200-$400 towards reg- 
istration fee of $700 (transportation not incl,). Deadline; 
April 17. For more info & appl. contact; L. Somi Roy, Exec. 
Dir. Int'l Film Seminars, Inc., 198 Broadway, Rm. 1206, 
New York, NY 10038; (212) 608-3224; fax: 608-3242, 
ifs@flahertyseminar.org; www.flahertyseminar.org 

LOCAL INDEPENDENTS COLLABORATING WITH STA- 
TIONS (LlnCS) FUND, a funding initiative from the 
Independent Television Service (ITVS), provides incentive 
or matching monies ($10,000-$75,000) for collabora- 
tions between public TV stations & indie producers. 
Single shows & interstitial pkgs considered, as are pro- 
jects in any genre or stage of development. Programs 
should stimulate civic discourse & break traditional 
molds of exploring complex issues. Indie film & video- 
makers are encouraged to seek collaborations w/ their 
local public TV stations. Deadline; April 30. Download 
appl. on web site. Contact: (415) 356-8383 x. 230; 
Heidi_Schuster@itvs.org; www.itvs.org 

MEDIA GRANTS AVAILABLE TO INDIVIDUALS AND ORGA- 
NIZATIONS IN NEW YORK STATE: The Experimental TV 
Center provides support to electronic media & film artists 



& orgs in NY state. Presentation funds provided to non- 
profit orgs in NY state. Deadline: ongoing. Up to $2,000 per 
project. Orgs must be receiving support from NY State 
Council of the Arts Electronic Media & Film Program. 
Deadlines; April 1, July 1 & Oct. 1. Contact Sherry Miller 
Hocking, Experimental TV Center, 109 Lower Fairfield Rd., 
Newark Valley, NY 13811; (607) 687-4341; etc@experi 
mentaltvcenter.org; www.experimentaltvcenter.org 

NATIONAL ENDOWMENT FOR THE HUMANTIES: 

Summer seminars & institutes for college & univ. teach- 
ers. Seminars incl. 15 participants working in collabora- 
tion w/ 1 or 2 leading scholars. Institutes provide inten- 
sive collaborative study of texts, historical periods & 
ideas for teachers of undergrad humanities. Info & appl. 
materials are avail, from project directors. Contact: 
(202) 606-8463; sem-inst@neh.gov; www.neh.gov 

NEWENGLANDFILM.COM is a unique online resource 
that provides local film & video professionals w/ search- 
able industry directory, listings of local events, screen- 
ings, jobs, calls for entries & upcoming productions, in 
addition to filmmaker interviews & industry news. 
Reaching over 20,000 visitors each month. All articles & 
listings on sites free to read; www.nefilm.com 

NEWPROJECT.NET provides a new vehicle for producers 
in search of partnerships, financing & distribution for 
projects. Online database of presentations of projects in 
development, in production, or recently completed, 
NewProject.net is a place where professionals can "pub- 
lish" & announce their copyrighted new projects & pre- 
sent them to programming execs, distribution compa- 
nies, potential underwriters, investors & other partners. 



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56 THE INDEPENDENT April 2001 




THE 



I 



VIDEO AND FILMMAKER 



About AIVF and FIVF 

Offering support for individuals and 
advocacy for the media arts field, 
rhe Association of Independent Video 
and Filmmakers (AIVF) is a national 
membership organization of over 
3,000 diverse, committed opinionated 
and -fiercely independent film- and 
(rideomakers. AIVF partners with the 
Foundation for Independent Video 
and Film (FIVF), a 501(c)(3) nonprofit 
offering a broad slate of education 
and information programs. 

To succeed as an independent you 
ieed 2. wealth of. resources,, strong, 
connections, and the best information 
available. Whether through the pages 
ni our magazine, The Independent 
r ilm 8r Video Monthly, our expanded 
website, or through the organization 
aising its collective voice to 
advocate for important issues, AIVF 
preserves your independence while 
reminding you you're not alone. 

Here's what AIVF 
membership offers: 

iJttljJ^pWJlJujjJ 

J J FILM & VIDEO MONTHLY 

"We hove This Magazine!!" 
-UTNE Reader- 
Membership provides you with a 
gear's subscription to The Independent 
Thought-provoking features, profiles, 
news, and regular columns on 
business, technical, and legal matters. 
Plus the field's best source of 
festival listings, funding deadlines, 



exhibition venues, and announcements 
of member activities and services. 
Special issues highlight subjects 
including experimental media, new 
technologies, regional activity, and 
non-fiction work Business and non- 
profit members receive discounts on 
advertising as well as special 
mention in each issue. 

INFORMATION 

FIVF publishes a series of practical 
resource books on international 
festivals, distribution, and exhibition 
venues, offered at discount prices to 
members (see the other part of this 



TRADE DISCOUNTS 

Businesses across the country offer 
AIVF members discounts on equipment 
and auto rentals, stock and expendibles, 
film processing, transfers, editing, 
shipping, and other production 
necessities. Members also receive 
discounts on purchases of the ATVF 
mailing list and classified ads in The 
Independent. 

WORKSHOPS & EVENTS 

Special events covering the whole 
spectrum of current issues and 
concerns affecting the field, ranging 
from business and aesthetic to 



insert for a list). 

Our New York City Filmmaker 
Resource Library houses up-to-date 
information on everything from job 
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producer. We also provide referrals, 
answering hundreds of calls and 
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WWWAIVF.ORG 

Stay connected through www.aivf.org 
featuring the lowdown on ATVF 
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INSURANCE 

Members are eligible to purchase 
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technical and political topics. 

COMMUNITY 

ATVF Regional Salons are based in 
cities across the country. These 
member-organized member-run get- 
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the AIVF website. 

ADVOCACY 

Since AIVF members first gathered 
over 25 years ago, ATVF has been 
consistently outspoken in its efforts 
to preserve the resources and rights 
of independent mediamakers, as well 
as to keep the public abreast of the 
latest issues concerning our field. 
Members receive periodic advocacy 
alerts, information on current issues 
and public policy, and the 
opportunity to add their voice to 
collective actions. 






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All the above benefits (except access to insurance plans) • option to request up to 3 one-year 
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(212) 463-5519, or via our website www.aivf.org. Your first issue of The Independent will arrive in 4-6 weeks. | 



NEXT WAVE FILMS, funded by the Ind. Film Channel, 
was est. to provide finishing funds & other vital sup- 
port to emerging filmmakers w/ low-budget, English- 
lang features from U.S. & abroad. Selected films 
receive assistance w/ postproduction, implementing a 
festival strategy & securing distrib through production 
arm of Next Wave Films. Both fiction & non-fiction 
films considered for finishing funds. Contact: Next 
Wave Films, 2510 7th St., Ste. E, Santa Monica, CA 
90405. (310) 392-1720; fax: 399-3455; launch© 
nextwavefilms.com; www.nextwavefilms.com 

OPPENHEIMER CAMERA: New filmmaker grant equip, 
program offers access to pro 16mm camera system for 
first serious new productions in dramatic, doc, exp., or nar- 
rative form. Purely commercial projects not considered. 
Provides camera on year-round basis. No appl. deadline, 
but allow 10 week min. for processing. Contact: Film Grant, 
Oppenheimer Camera, 666 S. Plummer St., Seattle, WA 
98134; (206) 467-8666; fax: 467-9165; marty@oppen 
heimercamera.com; www.oppenheimercamera.com 

PAUL ROBESON FUND FOR INDEPENDENT MEDIA 

solicits projects addressing critical social & political 
issues w/ goal of creating social change. Funding for 
radio projects in all stages of production; film & video 
projects in preproduction or distrib stages only. Deadline: 
May 15. Contact: Trinh Duong, The Funding Exchange, 
666 Broadway, #500, NY, NY 10012, (212) 529-5300. 

PORTLAND, OREGON FILMMAKING GRANTS: Digital 
Media Education Center of Portland, Oregon is announc- 
ing an open call for submissions for Avid Film Camp 
2001 program. 5-yr-old program affords a boost to indie 
feature directors looking to complete their films, while 
offering Avid-authorized training to career editors. 
Beginning this year, films will also receive free Pro Tools 
audio finishing & Avid Symphony Online editing. 
Submissions need to be feature-length projects w/ 
shooting completed. Projects accepted on a rolling 
basis. Contact: Deborah Cravey, Digital Media Education 
Center, 5201 SW Westgate Dr., Ste. Ill, Portland, OR 
97221; (503) 297-2324; deb@filmcamp.com; 
www.filmcamp.com 

SERVICES AND EQUIPMENT AVAILABLE: Exp. photogra- 
pher, w/ super 8mm w/ sync sound & 16mm camera 
plus lighting, wants to put together a film reel. Looking to 
work w/ producers & directors w/ visually interesting 
projects. All services & equip, are free. Contact: (212) 
387-9560; chung68@aol.com 

TEXAS FILMMAKERS' PRODUCTION FUND 2001 is an 

annual grant awarded to emerging film & video artists 
who residents of Texas. In Sept. the Fund will award 
$50,000 in grants ranging from $l,000-$5,000. 
Deadline: July 2. Appl. avail, at Texas Filmmakers' 
Production Funds, 1901 East 51st St., Austin, TX 78723; 
(512) 322-0145; www.austinfilm.org 

U.S.-MEXICO FUND FOR CULTURE, sponsored/funded 
by Mexico's Nat'l Fund For Culture & the Arts (FONCA), 
Bancomer Cultural Foundation, & the Rockefeller 
Foundation, announces bi-national artist proposals. 
Deadline: April 16 (postmarked). Contact: Beatriz Nava, 
U.S.-Mexico Fund For Culture, Londres 1.6, 3rd fl., Col. 
Juarez, 06600, Mexico D.F : (525) 592-5386; fax: 566- 
8071; usmexcult@fidemexusa.org.mx; www.fideicomi 
somexusa.org.mx 




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April AVI THE INDEPENDENT 57 



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DEADLINE: 1ST OF EACH MONTH, 2 MONTHS PRIOR TO 
COVER DATE (E.G. MAY 1 FOR JULY ISSUE). CONTACT: 
FAX: (212) 463-8519; scott@aivf.org. PER ISSUE COST: 

0-240 CHARACTERS (incl. spaces & punctuation) 

$45 FOR NONMEMBERS/$30 FOR AIVF MEMBERS 

241-360 CHARACTERS: $65/$45 AIVF MEMBERS 

361-480 CHARACTERS: $80/$60 AIVF MEMBERS 

481-600 CHARACTERS: $95/$75 AIVF MEMBERS 

OVER 600 CHAR: CALL FOR QUOTE 

(212) 807-1400 x. 229 

Frequency discount: 

$5 off pfr issue for ads running 5+ times. 

ads over specified length will be edited. copy 
should be typed & accompanied by check or 
money order payable to: fivf, 304 hudson st., 
6th fl, new york, ny 10013. include billing 
address; daytime phone; # of issues; and valid 
member id# for member discount. to pay by visa 
/mc/amex incl. card #; name on card; exp date. 

Buy • Rent • Sell 

AVID AVAILABLE WITH EDITOR; Digital camera package 
& Avid classes. Good prices. Call or fax: (212) 794-1982. 

AVID OFF-LINE FOR RENT: MC 7.1, Powermac 9600, 33 
gigs memory, two 20" Mitsubishi monitors, 14" Trinitron 
monitor, 16 Ch Mackie mixer. Avid tech support. Free set- 
up in NYC area. Call Howard (914) 271-4161. 

DP W/ CANON XL-lj BETA-SP DECK RENTAL avail, I 
shoot all formats: film/video. Non-linear editing w/ all 
video formats. 13 yrs exp w/ Academy Award nomina- 
tion. Affordable rates. DMP Productions (212) 307-9097; 
http://members.tripod.com/~dmpfilm 

FOR RENT: SONY 3 CHIP Digital DV Camera Plus 
Sennheiser ME 66 shotgun mic, with or without operator. 
$100 per day without operator. Call (212) 966-5489. 

Distribution 

19 YEARS AS AN INDUSTRY LEADER! Representing out- 
standing video on healthcare, mental health, disabilities 
& related issues. Our films win Oscars, Emmys, Duponts. 
Freddies & more. Join us! Fanlight Productions: (800) 
937-4113; www.fanlight.com 

AN OUTSTANDING DISTRIBUTOR seeks outstanding pro- 
ducers to join us. Seeking educational documentaries and 
training videos on disabilities, mental health, aging, 
stress, health issues. As a medium-sized distributor we 
give your video the attention it deserves. Call or email us! 
Ourfilms win Emmys, Freddies, CINE's, Oscars, and more! 
Aquarius Health Care Videos: 888-441-2963; leslie® 
aquariusproductions.com; www.aquariusproductions.com 

BALLANTINE FILMS.COM is an online streaming and 
resource site for film and video professionals, indepen- 
dent filmmakers, students, animators, actors, screenwrit- 
ers, producers, and film enthusiasts is currently accept- 
ing film and videos for free online streaming. In addition, 
site is seeking entries for our free industry directory, 
including talent lists, script library, production facilities, 
and more. Contact: info@ballantinefilms.com or visit 
web site for more information: www.ballantinefilms.com 



BUDGETS/INVESTOR PACKAGE: Experienced line produc- 
er will prepare script breakdowns, shooting schedules & 
detailed budgets. Movie Magic equipped. MC, Visa, Amex. 
Indie rates negotiable. Mark (212) 340-1243. 

BUYINDIES.COM The founders of NewEnglandFilm.com 
have created another site: Buylndies.com, a community 
to buy & sell independent films. If you have copies of your 
movie avail, on VHS or DVD, then you can join as a seller 
& list any or all of your titles. Buylndies.com handles the 
ecommerce, customer service & promotion; you handle 
the shipping. Filmmakers keep all rights to the film. 
Already over 45,000 titles have been gathered. More info: 
www.buyindies.com/sell/; info@buyindies.com 

EDUCATIONAL DISTRIBUTOR SEEKS VIDEOS on guid- 
ance issues such as violence, drug prevention, mentoring, 
children's health & parenting for exclusive distribution. 
Our marketing gives unequaled results! Call Sally Germain 
at The Bureau for At-Risk Youth: (800) 99-YOUTH x. 210. 



LOOKING FOR AN EDUCATIONAL DISTRIBUTOR? 

Consider the Univ. of California. We can put 80 yrs of suc- 
cessful marketing expertise to work for you. Kate Spohr: 
(510) 643-2788; www-cmil.unex.berkeley.edu/media/ 

THE CINEMA GUILD, leading film/video/multimedia dis- 
tributor, seeks new doc, fiction, educational & animation 
programs for distribution. Send videocassettes or discs for 
evaluation to: The Cinema Guild. 130 Madison Ave., 2nd 
fl., New York, NY 10016; (212) 685-6242; TheCinemaG@ 
aol.com; Ask for Distributor Services brochure. 

Freelance 

35MM/16MM PROD. PKG w/ DP Complete pkg. w/ DP's 
own Arri 35BL, 16SR, HMIs, dolly, jib crane, lighting, DAT, 
grip, 5-ton truck. . . more. Ideal 1-source for the low-bud- 
get producer! Call for reel: Tom Agnello (201) 741-4367. 

ACCLAIMED AND UNUSUAL instrumental band can pro- 
vide music for your next project. Contact "Magonia" for 
demo: (781) 932-4677; boygirl@mediaone.net; 
www.magonia.com 

ANDREW DUNN, Director of Photography/camera opera- 
tor Arn35 BL3, Aaton XTRprod S16, Sony DVCAM. 
Experience in features, docs, TV & industrials. Credits: 
Dog Run, Strays, Working Space /Working Light. (212) 
477-0172; AndrewD158@aol.com 

AVID EDITOR I'm experienced, fast & creative. I've cut 
feature films, shorts & a variety of other formats on both 
film and video. I'm a hard worker & easy to get along with. 
Josh (917) 439-9369 orjoshbaron@joshdiesel.com 

AWARD-WINNING EDITOR, w/ Avid and Beta SP facility. 
Features, shorts, docs, music videos, educational, 
industrials, demos. Trilingual: Spanish, English, Catalan. 
Nuria Olive-Belles (212) 627-9256. 

BRENDAN C. FLYNT: Director of Photography w/ many 
feature & short film credits. Owns 35 Arri BL3, Super 
16/16 Aaton, HMIs, Tungsten & dolly w/ tracks. Awards 
at Sundance & Raindance. Call for quotes & reel at (212) 
226-8417; www.dp-brendanflynt.com 

CINEMATOGRAPHER w/ Am SR Super 16 package & 
35IIC, w/ over 15 years in the industry. Credits incl. 2nd 
unit, FX & experimental. Looking for interesting projects. 
Will travel. Theo (212) 774-4157; pager: (213) 707-6195. 



CINEMATOGRAPHER w/ Super 16 package with video 
tap, digital, lighting; 20 yrs experience on features, 
shorts, documentaries, music videos. Italian, English, 
some Spanish; will travel. Renato Tonelli (718) 728- 
7567; rtonelli@tiscalinet.it 

COMPOSER: Experienced, award-winning Yale conser- 
vatory grad writes affordable music in any style that will 
enhance your project. Save money without compromising 
creativity. Full service digital recording studio. Free demo 
CD; initial consultation. Call Joseph Rubenstein; (212) 
242-2691; joe56@earthlink.net 

COMPOSER: Miriam Cutler loves to collaborate with 
filmmakers-features, docs. Sundance: Licensed To Kill, 
Death A Love Story I Peabody: The Castro I POV: Double 
Life of Ernesto Gomez Gomez & more (323) 664-1807; 
mircut2@earthlink.net 

COMPOSER: Original music for your film or video project. 
Will work with any budget. Complete digital studio. NYC 
area. Demo CD upon request. Call Ian O'Brien: (201) 
222-2638; iobrien@bellatlantic.net 

COMPOSER: Perfect music for your project. Orchestral to 
techno-you name it! Credits incl. NFL, PBS, Sundance, 
Absolut. Bach, of Music, Eastman School. Quentin 
Chiappetta (718) 752-9194; (917) 721-0058; qchiap@ 
el.net 

CREATIVE DIRECTOR OF PHOTOGRAPHY w/ lighting 
director background. Specialty films my specialty. Can 
give your film that unique "look." 16mm & 35mm pack- 
ages avail. Call Charles for reel: (212) 295-7878. 

DIGITAL VIDEO-Sony VX100 digital camera & camera- 
man, Sennheiser ME 66 shotgun mic, pro accessories. 
Experienced in dance, theater, performance art docu- 
mentation & features. Final Cut Pro digital editing with 
editor $125/day. John Newell (212) 677-6652; 
johnewell@earthlink.net 

DIGITAL VIDEO Videographer/DR with Canon XL-1 video- 
cam; prefer documentaries, shorts and less traditional 
projects; documentation for dance, music and perfor- 
mance. Alan Roth (718) 218-8065; (917) 548-4512; 
alanroth@mail.com 

DIGITAL VIDEOGRAPHER with Sony VX-1000 and 
Lectrosonic radio mic. available and happy to shoot doc- 
umentaries and shorts. Contact Melissa (212) 352- 
4141; meliss@rcn.com 

DIRECTOR OF PHOTOGRAPHY looking for interesting 
features, shorts, ind. projects, etc. Credits incl. features, 
commercials, industrials, short films, music videos. 
Aaton 16/S-16 pkg avail. Abe (718) 263-0010. 

DIRECTOR OF PHOTOGRAPHY w/ Arri 16 & 35BL2 cam- 
era pkgs. Credits incl. many indie features & shorts. 
Create "big film" look on low budget. Flexible rates & I 
work quickly. Willing to travel. Matthew: (617) 244- 
6730; (845) 439-5459; mwdp@rcn.com 

DIRECTOR OF PHOTOGRAPHY with Arri BL 3, Aaton XTR 
Prod S16/16mm, and Canon XL1 camera package is 
ready to shoot your project. Call Jay Silver at (718) 383- 
1325 for a copy of reel, email: hihosliver@ 
earthlink.com 

DIRECTOR OF PHOTOGRAPHY: Award-winning, exp, 
looking for interesting projects. Credits incl. features. 



58 THE INDEPENDENT April 2001 



docs & commercials in the U.S., Europe & Israel. Own 
complete Aaton Super 16 pkg & lights. Call Adam for 
reel. (212) 932-8255 or (917) 504-7244; nyvardy@ 
worldnet.att.net 

DOCUMENTARY VIDEOGRAPHER with extensive inter- 
national experience (Latin America, Africa, Europe & 
Canada). 22 years of experience as director/producer, 
videographer and editor of independent documentaries 
broadcast on CNN International, PBS, Cinemax & CBC. 
Last doc premiered at Sundance Festival. Specializes in 
cinema verite, social issue & multicultural projects. 
Robbie Leppzer, Turning Tide Productions; (800) 557- 
6414; leppzer@turningtide.com; www.turningtide.com. 

DP WITH CAMERA: Client list, package details (cameras 
and editing), view clips/stills. To order reel or contact, 
visit: www.kozma.com 

DV CONSULTANT: Need help w/ Final Cut Pro? Exp. con- 
sultant avail, for training in FCP AfterEffects, Media 
Cleaner Pro, or just Mac basics. Former Apple tech rep. 
& working filmmaker in NYC. Discount for AIVF members. 
Greg (347) 731-3466. 

EDITOR AVAILABLE: Experienced award-winning Avid edi- 
tor available to work on interesting and innovative pieces. 
Will work dirt cheap for the chance to be challenged (docs, 
shorts, features). Call Kevin (212) 591-0589. 

ENTERTAINMENT ATTORNEY: frequent contributor to 
"Legal Brief" columns in The Independent & other mag- 
azines, offers legal services to film & video community 
on projects from development thru distribution. Contact 
Robert L. Seigel, Esq., (212) 333-7000. 

EXPERIENCED CINEMATOGRAPHER with crew & equip- 
ment; 16mm & 35mm. Short films & features. Vincent 
(212) 779-1441. 

GRANTWRITING/FUNDRAISING: Research, writing & 
strategy (for production, distribution, exhibition, & educa- 
tional projects of media). Successful proposals to NYSCA, 
NEA, NEH, ITVS; Soros, Rockefeller, and Lila Acheson 
Wallace Foundations. Fast writers, reasonable rates. 
Wanda Bershen, (212) 598-0224; www.reddiaper.com; 
or Geri Thomas (212) 625-2011; www.artstaffing.com 

INDEPENDENT PRODUCTION COMPANY: Providing ser- 
vices for indie filmmakers, incl. all the crew & equip, 
needed. We also help you with locations, craft services, 
wardrobe, transportation, etc. . . Basically everything that 
goes on behind the camera. We specialize in independent 
filmmaking-features, shorts, music videos. Will consider 
any budget. Contact Vadim Epstein (917) 921-4646. 

JOHN BASKO: Documentary cameraman w/ extensive 
international Network experience. Civil wars in Kosovo, 
Beirut, El Salvador, Nicaragua, Tiananmen Square stu- 
dent uprising. Equipment maintained by Sony. (718) 
278-7869; fax: 278-6830; Johnbasko@icnt.net 

LOCATION SOUND: Over 20 yrs sound exp. w/ timecode 
Nagra & DAT, quality mics. Reduced rates for low-budget 
projects. Harvey & Fred Edwards, (518) 677-5720; 
edfilms@worldnet.att.net 

PRODUCTION TEAM: Providing services ranging from 
budget preparation to postproduction supervision. Help 
for your feature, short, video or commercial. Reduced 
rates for low-budget projects. A.L. Films: (718) 322- 
3202; info@legitfilms.com 



TRANSCRIPTION SERVICES: Fast, reliable & reason- 
able. Low rates for independents & students. 
Specializing in docs. Pick-up/Delivery/Rush. We know 
indies have special needs! PS Wilco (718) 369-5105; 
(516) 770-2314: www.pswilco.com 

Opportunities • Gigs 

COLUMBIA UNIVERSITY FILM DIVISION seeking 2 full- 
time faculty members, one to teach Directing and one to 
teach Producing and head the producing concentration. 
Univ. is EOE. Minorities encouraged to apply. Appl. dead- 
line March 31. See web site for complete job description 
and application procedure: www.columbia.edu/cu/arts/ 
film/jobs/html 

DEAN OF THE SCHOOL OF FILM/VIDEO: The California 
Institute of the Arts invites applications for Dean of the 
School of Film/Video. CalArts is a privately endowed & 
fully accredited arts college of approximately 1,200 stu- 
dents. The School of Film/Video ranks among the top five 
schools in the nation. Candidates should have a distin- 
guished career as a filmmakers or video artist. 
Experience should be commensurate with a senior level 
appointment. For a full job description of more info on 
CalArts, please visit: www.calarts.edu Application dead- 
line: Open until position filled. Application reviews will 
begin March 1. Starting date: Fall 2002. 



LECTURER IN DIGITAL ARTS: The Univ. of Michigan, 
Program in Film & Video Studies seeks a three-year 
(renewable, non-tenured track) Lecturer in Digital Arts. 
Duties incl. teaching computer based moving image pro- 
duction courses, such as Animation & Interactive New 
Media. Write for specifics or past the following URL into 
your browser window: www.umich.edu/~jobs/currenV 
postings/T-00-14288-CK.html; rray@umich.edu. Review 
of appls. will begin immediately. Submit a statement of 
interest, resume & sample(s) of creative materials/media 
workto: Digital Arts Search Committee, Program in Film & 
Video Studies, 2512 Frieze Bldg., 105 S. State St., Ann 
Arbor, Ml 48109. U of M is an EOE/AA employer. 

WELL-ESTABLISHED freelance camera group in NYC I 
seeking professional cameramen and soundmen w/ solid 
Betacam video experience to work w/ our wide array of 
clients. If qualified contact COA at (212) 505-1911. 
Must have video samples/reel. 

Preproduction • Development 

SCREENWRITER/DIRECTOR with credits seeking pro- 
ducer/investors for a dynamic, original script: Let's Kill 
Holly Hollmgsworth, a dramatic comedy; locations in a 
U.S. suburb & in Rome/ Positano, Italy. Budget $3-5 mil- 
lion. For treatment, see: http://www.indie7.com/treat- 
ments/treatment.asp?tid = 34; George Romaine: gero- 
main@aol.com; (718) 875-9120. 

SU-CITY PICTURES: The Screenplay Doctor, The Movie 
Mechanic: We provide screenplay/treatment/synopsis/ 
films-in-progress insight/analysis. Studio credentials 
include: Miramax & Warner Bros. Competitive rates. 
Brochure: (212) 219-9224; www.su-city-pictures.com 

Postproduction 

16MM CUTTING ROOMS: 8-plate & 6-plate fully 
equipped rooms, sound-transfer facilities, 24-hr access. 



Downtown, near all subways & Canal St. Reasonable 
rates. (212)925-1500. 

16MM SOUND MIX only $100/hr. Interlocked 16mm pic- 
ture & tracks mixed to 16 or 35mm fullcoat. 
16mm/35mm post services: picture & sound editorial, 
ADR, interlock screening, 16mm mag xfers (.06/ft), 
16mm edgecoding (.015/ft). Call Tom (201) 741-4367. 

AVID EDITOR; A dozen feature credits. New Media 
Composer w/ AVR 77 & off-line rez. Beta SR DAT, extra 
drives, Pro-tools editing & mixing, and your Avid or mine. 
Fast and easy to get along with. Credit cards accepted. 
Drina (212) 561-0829. 

BRODSKY & TREADWAY Film-to-tape masters. Reversal 
only. Regular 8mm, Super 8, or archival 16mm. We love 
early B&W & Kodachrome. Scene-by-scene only. Correct 
frame rates. For appt. call (978) 948-7985. 

DVD AUTHORING: Full DVD project management. Spruce 
system, compression, encoding, menu creation, author- 
ing and replication for your film. We are nice people and 
we have very reasonable pricing. (212) 563-4589; 245 
W. 29 St., NY, NY 10001 

EDIT/SHOOT IN SAN DIEGO: Discreet Edit 5.0 non-linear 
system. 90 gigs memory, component Beta, DV, S-VHS. 
Betacam & DV field pkg. Sony D-30/PW3 &VX2000. Full 
audio, graphics, etc. Low rates. Call (800) 497-1109; 
www.peteroliver.com 

FINAL CUT PRO: Rent a private edit suite in financial 
district w/ 24 hr access. 12 hrs b'cast quality storage, 
Photoshop, AfterEffects. Also, rent b'cast quality DV hid- 
den camera pkg: $250/day. Jonathan, Mint Leaf Prods: 
(212) 952-0121 X. 229. 

MEDIA 100 EDITING Broadcast quality, newest soft- 
ware. Huge storage & RAM. Betacam, 3/4", all DV for- 
mats, S-VHS, Hi-8. . . Great location, friendly environ- 
ment & low rates, tech support, talented editors & fx 
artists available: (212) 868-0028. 

PRODUCER WITH PRODUCTION OFFICE looking for low 
budget features to produce in New York. Will provide 
budgeting/scheduling, production personnel. Video, 
shorts and feature experience. Call Val at (212) 295- 
7878 or zelda212@netscape.net 

PRODUCTION OFFICE: West 85th in NYC, fully wired all 
office equip, Beta, 3/4" dubbing, animation. Avid room 
as needed. Short or long-term. Dana (212) 501-7878 x. 
222. 

PRODUCTION TRANSCRIPTS; Verbatim transcripts for 
documentaries, journalists, etc. Low prices & flat rates 
based on tape length. A standard 1 hr. 1-on-l interview 
is only $70: www.productiontranscnpts.com for details 
or call: (888) 349-3022 



PROFESSIONAL VIDEO COMPRESSION for presenting 
work over the Internet. Years of experience & clients 
incl. film festivals & independent filmmakers. Discount 
for AIVF members. Contact: compression@random 
room.com; www.randomroom.com/compression 

TOP OF THE LINE on-line/off-line NT Meridian Avid for 
rent — with or without editor — in Chelsea loft offices. 
Great rates! Contact Jong at Suitcase Productions. (212) 
647-8300. 



\p,,l AVI THE INDEPENDENT 59 



t 



k 





www.aivf.org 



from the director 

AIVF BELIEVES IN THE MAXIM THAT STRENGTH 
lies in diversity. To this end, regional produc- 
tion resources are critical to the preservation 
of a true independent media culture. Instead 
of seeking to conglomerate, AIVF works to 
network a wide range of disparate artists and 
organizations, doing what we can to help them 
thrive in their home communities. 

That's why we're so excited to be partner- 
ing with NAMAC again, to this year bring our 
MAESTRO project to Atlanta, Chicago, 
Philadelphia, and Portland. MAESTRO is an 
acronym for "Media Arts Environmental Tour 
of Regional Organizations" (see why we abbre- 
viate it?). Through these "scans" — a concen- 
trated series of gatherings and programs — 
AIVF and NAMAC can stay in better touch 
with our constituents. 

Not coincidentally, "Maestro" also means 
"teacher." The MAESTRO program provides 
a platform for technical assistance programs 
that ideally can help elevate the knowledge 
and capacity of regional centers. More impor- 
tantly, the tour provides an avenue for our 
regional partners and theit communities to 
teach us about all of the ways in which we 
remain independent. 



reachAIVF 

FILMMAKERS' RESOURCE LIBRARY 
hours: TUES.-FRI. 11-6; WED. 11-9 

The AIVF office is located at 304 Hudson St. 
(between Spring & Vandam) 6th fl., in New York 

City. Subways: 1 or 9 to Houston, C or E to 

Spring. Our Filmmakers' Resource Library 

houses hundreds of print and electronic 

resources — from essential directories & trade 

magazines to sample proposals & budgets. 

BY PHONE: (212) 807-1400 

Recorded information available 24/7; 
operator on duty Tues.-Fri. 2-5p.m. EST 

BY INTERNET: www.aivf.org; info@aivf.org 



It is our pleasure in this issue to provide a 
snapshot of Buffalo, one of the remarkable 
media arts communities we visited last year. 
See pages 22-30, and remember that Buffalo is 
also a verb, as in, "to confound." (Thanks, 
Tony!) Watch aivf.org for news on our upcom- 
ing regional programs, or provide feedback to 
maestro@aivf.org. 

— Elizabeth Peters 

aivf events 

MEET & GREET 

GOOD MACHINE 

GOOD MACHINE 



©o 



Wliem Tues., April 17, 6:30-8:30 

Cost: free/AIVF members; $10/general public 

Good Machine, Inc. was founded in 1991 as a 
production company dedicated to the work of 
emerging, innovative film artists. Releases 
include Ang Lee's Crouching Tiger, Hidden 
Dragon, The Ice Storm, Ride with the Devil, and 
The Wedding Banquet, all of which were co- 
written &. produced by co-president James 
Schamus, who will be attending with Anne 
Carey, senior V-P of development. 

IN BRIEF 

ADVICE FROM THE PROS 

LEGAL SERIES 

"COPYRIGHT AND THE LAW OF IDEAS" 

Sponsored by Cowan, DeBaets, 
Abrahams & Sheppard 

When: Thursday, April 19, 6:30-8:30 p.m. 
Cost: $20 AIVF & WMM members; $30 gen- 
eral public 

Our seven-session Legal Series launches with 
a program on clearance and copyright. This 
evening presents the legal issues involved in 
selling or buying a script as well as optioning a 
true story for a film project, including: copy- 
tight, tight of publicity, right of privacy, 
defamation, clearing archival footage/photos, 
fair use defense and trademark. 



The series moderator and co-producer is 
Innes Gumnitsky, an entertainment attorney 
with Cowan, DeBaets, Abrahams & 
Sheppard, and specializes in independent film, 
representing independent producers, writers 
and directors. In Brief is presented by AIVF 
and sponsored by Cowan, DeBaets, 
Abrahams, and Sheppard. This session is co- 
sponsored by Women Make Movies. 

UPCOMING TOPICS: 

May 1 0: Forming a Legal Entity 
June 7: Film Finance (a) Private Offerings; 
June 14: (b) Other forms of financing 
September 13: Production Legal Issues 
October 18: Guilds and Unions 
November 15: Distribution Deals 
Hold a seat for these important seminars by 
purchasing a series pass: $150 for all six pro- 
grams ($100/AIVF members). 

DOCUMENTARY DIALOGUES 

BEYOND SELF-REFLECTION: 

NEGOTIATING YOUR ROLE IN 

THE PERSONAL DOCUMENTARY 

When: Tuesday, April 24, 6:30-8:30 p.m. 
Wine and goldfish reception follows! 
Cost: $5 AIVF members only 

An artist draws from personal experience as 
the basis of her art. What happens when a film- 
maker's personal experience IS the art? Diary 
and personal essay films can provide a popular 
vehicle for often profound. and universal sto- 
ries. This month we discuss how a maker can 
maintain their perspective and craft the 
strongest possible work when negotiating the 
tricky dual roles of author and subject. 

THE LOS ANGELES FILM FESTIVAL 
APRIL 20-28 

The Los Angeles Film Festival (LAFF) was 
launched in 1995 as a means of uniting the 
independent filmmaking community and sup- 
porting emerging filmmaking talent. AIVF is 
proud to support the LAFF and to co-present 
the following panel: 



60 THE INDEPENDENT April 2001 



The Foundation for Independent Video and Film (FIVF), the educational affiliate 
of the Association for Independent Video and Filmmakers (AIVF), supports a 

variety of programs and services for the 
independent media community, including 



t x-ix^nriss 



publication of The Independent and a series of resource publications, seminars 
and workshops, and information services. 

None of this work would be possible without the generous support of the AIVF 
membership and the following organizations: 



«? 



NYSCA 



The Mary Duke Biddle Foundation 

The Chase Manhattan Foundation 

Forest Creatures Entertainment, Inc. 

The William and Flora Hewlett 
Foundation 

LEF Foundation 

Albert A. List Foundation, Inc. 



The John D. and Catherine T. 
MacArthur Foundation 

The National Endowment for the Arts 

New York City Department of Cultural 
Affairs: Cultural Challenge Program 

New York Foundation for the Arts: TechTAP 

New York State Council on the Arts 



We also wish to thank the following individuals and organizational members: 

BllSineSS/lndUStry Members: CA: Action/Cut Directed By Seminars; Attaboc LLC; 
Dr. Rawstock; Eastman Kodak Co.; Film Society of Ventura County; Focal Point Systems, Inc.; 
Forest Creatures Entertainment Co.; Idea Live; Marshall/Stewart Productions, Inc.; MPRM; ProMax 
Systems Inc.; Somford Entertainment; CO: The Crew Connection; DC: Consciousness Squared 
Communications; FL Tiger Productions, Inc.; GA: Indie 7; IL Optimus; MA: CS Associates, Glidecam 
Industries; Monitor Company; MD: The Learning Channel; Ml: Grace & Wild Studios, Inc.; Zooropa 
Design; NJ: Black Maria Film Festival; Diva Communications, Inc.; NY: AKQ Communications, Ltd.; 
American Montage; Analog Digital Intl.; Archive Films, Inc.; Asset Pictures; Bluestocking Films, 
Inc.; The Bureau for At-Risk Youth; C-Hundred Film Corporation; Cineblast! Prods.; Corra Films; 
Cypress Films; Deconstruction Co.; Dekart Video; Dependable Delivery, Inc.; DV8 Video Inc.; Earth 
Video; Human Relations Media; Hypnotic; Inkling Prods.; Kitchen Sync Group, Inc.; KL Lighting; 
Mad Mad Judy; Media Services; Mercer Media; Mercer St. Sound; Mixed Greens; New York 
Independent Film School; Nuclear Warrier Prods.; NTV Studio Productions; On Track Video, Inc.; 
One Kilohertz; The Outpost; Partisan Pictures; Paul Dinatale Post, Inc.; Prime Technologies; 
Seahorse Films; Son Vida Pictures, LLC; Sound Mechanix; Stuart Math Films, Inc.; Suitcase 
Productions; The Tape Company; Tribune Pictures; Winstar Productions; Wolfen Prods.; OR: Angel 
Station Corp.; PA: Smithtown Creek Prods.; TX: Rose Noble Entertainment; UT: KBYU-TV; Rapid 
Video, LLC; VA: Bono Film & Video; Dorst MediaWorks; Roland House, Inc.; WA: Amazon.com; 
Global Griot Prod.; WV: Harpers Ferry Center Library; France: Kendal Prods. 

Nonprofit Members: AL Sidewalk Moving Picture Fest. AR: Hot Springs Documentary 
Film Inst.; AZ: U of Arizona; Scottsdale Community Coll.; CA: The Berkeley Documentary Center; 
Filmmakers Alliance; Intl. Buddhist Film Fest.; ITVS; LEF Foundation; Los Angeles Film 
Commission; Media Fund; NAATA; Ojai Film Soc.; San Francisco Jewish Film Fest.; U of Cal. 
Extension, CMIL; USC School of Cinema TV; Victory Outreach Church; Whispered Media; CO: 
Denver Center for the Performing Arts; DC: Corporation for Public Broadcasting; Media Access 
Project; GA: Image Film & Video Center; HI: Aha Punana Leo; U. of Hawaii Outreach College; ID 
Center for School Improvement; IL: Art Institute of Chicago; Chicago Underground Film Fest. 
Community TV Network; Little City Foundation; PBS Midwest; Rock Valley Coll.; KY: Appalshop 
LA: New Orleans Film Fest.; MA: CCTV; Coolidge Corner Theatre Foundation; Harvard Medical 
School; Long Bow Group Inc; Lowell Telecommunications Corp.; LTC Communications; MD: Laurel 
Cable Network; Native Vision Media; Ml: Ann Arbor Film Fest.; MN: IFP/North; Intermedia Arts; 
Walker Arts Center; MO: Webster University Film Series; MS: Magnolia Indie Fest.; NC: Doubletake 
Documentary Film Fest.; NE: Nebraska Independent Film Project, Inc.; Ross Film Theater, 
UN/Lincoln; NM: Taos Talking Pictures; NY: Center for New American Media; Cinema Arts Center; 
CUNY TV Tech Program; Communications Society; Cornell Cinema; Council for Positive Images, 
Inc.; Creative Capital Foundation; Crowing Rooster Arts; Downtown Community TV; Educational 
Video Center; Film Forum; Film Society of Lincoln Center; Globalvision, Inc.; Guggenheim Museum 
SoHo; John Jay High School; Konscious, Inc.; Manhattan Neighborhood Network; National 
Foundation for Jewish Culture; National Video Resources; New York Film Academy; NYU TV Center; 
New York Women in Film and TV; Open Society Institute/Soros Documentary Fund; Paper Tiger TV; 
Spiral Pictures; Squeaky Wheel; Stony Brook Film Fest.; Third World Newsreel; ThirteenA/VNET; 
Upstate Films, Ltd.; Women Make Movies; OH: Athens Center for Film & Video; Cleveland 
Filmmakers; Greater Cincinnati & Northern Kentucky Film Commission; Media Bridges Cincinnati; 
Ohio Independent Film Fest.; Ohio University/Film; Wexner Center; OR: Communication Arts, 
MHCC; Northwest Film Center; PA: DUTV/Cable 54; PA Council on the Arts; Prince Music Theater; 
Scribe Video Center; Temple University; University of the Arts; Rl: Flickers Arts Collaborative; SC: 
South Carolina Arts Commission; TX: Austin Cinemaker Co-Op; Austin Film Soc.; Southwest 
Alternate Media Project; Worldfest Houston; UT: Sundance Institute; VT: Kingdom County 
Productions; WA: Seattle Central Community College; Wl: UWM Department of Film; U of Wisconsin 
Dept of Communcation Arts; Wisconsin Film Office; Argentina: Lagarto Producciones; Canada: Toronto 
Documentary Forum/Hot Docs; Germany: International Shorts Film Festival; India: Foundation for 
Universal Responsibility 



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DV TO 35MM TRANSFER WARS: 
A COMPARISON OF LABS 

When: Friday, April 27 

Where: DGA Theatre. Los Angeles 

Cost: check Festival website 

In/o.:(323) 937-9155; www.lafilmfest.com 

Not all transfers look alike. That's the indis- 
putable finding of AIVF's DV-to-35mm trans- 
fer tests. Excerpts will be screened from the 
tests to showcase the varying transfer tech- 
niques, and representatives from featured labs 
will be on hand to screen additional clips, 
explain their transfer processes, and answer 
your questions, as well as those from writer 
and moderator Robert Goodman. See the dif- 
ferences and judge for yourself! 

THE SAN FRANCISCO 
INDEPENDENT FILM FESTIVAL 

APRIL 19-MAY 3 

Presented hy the S.F. Film Society 
AIVF is proud to co-sponsor this year's festival 
and to co-present the following panels: 

DV TO 35MM TRANSFERS: A COMPARISON OF LABS 

Monday, April 30. Check festival website for 
further info. 

IN SEARCH OF AN AUDIENCE: EXPLORING THE 
WORLD OF SELF-DISTRIBUTION 

Wlten: Sunday, April 29 

Where: AMC Kabuki 8 Theatres (1881 Post 

St., San Francisco, CA) 

Cost: free to Film Society and AIVF members; 

$5 general public 

Info.: www.sfiff.org 

Panelists include exhibitors who present inde- 
pendent films and videos, and filmmakers who 
have found audiences by hitting the streets. 

aivf co-sponsors 

PS 2001 

(MONDAY NIGHTS IN APRIL) 

The Phat Shorts Film Festival is a grassroots 
collective of artists bent on amping the expo- 
sure of short films, and celebrating the com- 
munity of independent filmmakers. Info: 
www.phatshortsfestival.com or Anthology 
Film Archives at (212) 505-5110. 

AVIGNON/NEW YORK FILM FESTIVAL 

(APRIL 16-22) 

The only festival of its kind to bring together 
French & American independent films in a 



cross-cultural feast of premieres, retrospec- 
tives, seminars, and parties. Over 60 events 
and 30 films will screen at the French 
Institute/Alliance Francaise (FIAF). AIVF 
members eligible for discounted tickets to 
screenings as well as the Inaugural Gala, and 
on VIP badges. Info.: (212) 355-6100. 

HOT DOCS 

(APRIL 30-MAY 6) 

North America's largest doc festival, Hot Docs 
Canadian International Documentary Festival 
is Toronto's annual celebration of excellence 
in doc film and TV. Hot Docs presents a selec- 
tion 80+ cutting-edge documentaries from 
Canada and around the world. Fest includes 
2nd Annual Toronto Documentary Forum, a 
two -day event for the international co -financ- 
ing and co -production of new documentaries. 
Info.: (416) 203-2155; www.hotdocs.ca 

SELECT SCREENINGS PRESENTED BY 

THE FILM SOCIETY 

OF LINCOLN CENTER 

AIVF members may attend specific films for 
just $5 per ticket! Please show membership 
card at box office. The Walter Reade Theatre 
is located at Lincoln center, 165 W 65th 
Street. For more info, contact the Film Society 
of Lincoln Center box office at (212) 875- 
5600 or www.filmlinc.com 

April programs: 

Ermanno Olmi Retrospective: Mar. 21 -Apr. 12 
Contemporary British Cinema: Apr. 13-26 
Argentinian Cinema: Apr. 2 7 -May 10 

TIMES TALKS: THE SPECIALIST 

PRESENTED BY DOCFEST FILM FESTIVAL 

(THE NEW YORK DOCUMENTARY CENTER, INC.) 

mm NEW YORK TIMES 

When: Sun., April 1, 3-6 p.m., 

Where: The DGA Theater (110 W. 57 St.) 

Cost: $25 gen public; $10 AIVF members 

(with card, at door only). 

Info.: (888) NYT- 18 70; www.docfest.org 

Classic documentaries will be screened as part 
of this New York Times series dedicated to dis- 
cussion of the arts, entertainment, and society 7 . 
Each Times Talks screening will be accompa- 
nied by a lively QekA and champagne recep- 
tion. Eyal Sivan's The Specialist (1999), a dis- 
tillation of 500 hours of courtroom footage 
shot in 1961 during the trial of Nazi "Final 
Solution" chief Adolf Eichmann. 



62 THE INDEPENDENT April 2001 



The AIVF Regional Salons provide opportunity 
for members to discuss work, meet other inde- 
pendents, share war stories, and connect with 
the AIVF community across the country. Visit the 
salons section at www.aivf.org for more info. 

Be sure to contact your local Salon Leader to confirm 
date, time, and location of the next meeting! 

Albany, NY: Upstate Independents 

When: First Wednesday of the month, 6:30 pm 
Where: Borders Books 6k Music, Wolf Rd. 
Contact: Mike Camoin (518) 489- 
2083, mike@videosforchange.com 

Atlanta, GA: IMAGE 

When: Second Tuesday of the month, 7 pm 
Where: Redlight Cafe, 553 Amsterdam Avenue 
Contact: Mark Wynns, (404) 3524225 x. 12, 
mark@irnagefv.org 

Austin, TX: Austin Film Society 

When: Last Monday of the month, 7 pm 
Where: Bad Dog Comedy, 110 Riverside Dr. 
Contact: Anne del Castillo, (512) 502-8104, 
labc@att.net 

Birmingham, AL: 

Contact: Karen Scott, WScott9268@aol.com 

Boulder, CO: "Films for Change" Screenings 

When: first Wednesday of the month, 7 pm 
Where: Boulder Public Library, 1000 Arapahoe 
Contact: Jon Stout, (303) 442-8445, 
programming@fstv.org 



Boston, MA: 

Contact: Fred Simon, (508) 528-7279, 
FSimon@aol.com 

Charleston, SC: 

When: Last Thursday of the month 6:30-8:45 pm 
Where: Charleston County Library, 68 Calhoun St. 
Contact: Peter Paolini, (843) 805-6841; 
Peter Wentworth, filmsalon@aol.com 

Cleveland, OH: Ohio Independent Film Festival 

Contact: Annetta Marion or Bernadette Gillota, 
(216) 651-7315, OhioIndieFilmFest@juno.com 

Dallas, TX: Video Association of Dallas 
Contact: Bart Weiss, (214) 428-8700, 
bart@videofest.org 

Houston, TX: SWAMP 

When: Last Tuesday of the month 

Where: SWAMR 1519 West Main 

Contact: (713) 522-8592, swamp@swamp.org 

Lincoln, NE: Nebraska Ind. Film Project 

When: Second Wednesday of the month, 5:30 pm 
Where: Telepro, 1844 N Street 
Contact: Dorothy Booraem, (402)476-5422, 
dot@ 1 inetnebr.com, www.lmcolnne.com/nonprofit/nifp 

Los Angeles, CA: EZTV 

When: Third Monday of the month, 8 pm 

Where: EZTV- Santa Monica 

Contact: Michael Masucci, (310) 829-3389, 

mmasucci@aol.com 

Milwaukee, WI: Milwaukee Ind. Film Society 

When: First Wednesday of the month, 7pm 
Where: Milwaukee Enterprise Center, 2821 N 4th 
Contact: Brooke Maroldi, (414) 276-8563, 
www.mifs.org/salon 



New Brunswick, NJ: 

Contact: Allen Chou, (732) 321-071 1, 

allen@passionriver.com, www.passionriver.com 

Portland, OR: 

Contact: Beth Harrington, (360) 256-6254, 
betuccia@aol.com 

Rochester, NY: 

When: First Monday of the month 
Contact: Kate Kressmann-Kehoe, 
(716) 244-8629, ksk@netacc.net 

San Diego, CA: 

Contact: Paul Espinosa, (619) 284-9811, 

espinosa@electriciti.com 

South Florida: 

Contact: Dominic Giannetti, (877) 378-2029, 
dvproductions@email.com 

Tucson, AZ: 

When: First Monday of the month 
Contact: Rosarie Salerno, 
destiny@azstarnet.com, 
http://access.tucson.org/aivf/ 

Washington, DC: 

Contact: Joe Torres, DC Salon hotline 
(202) 554-3263 x. 4, jatvelez@hotmail.com 

Salons are run by AIVF members, often in association 
with local partners. 

AIVF has resources to assist enthusiastic and com- 
mitted members who wish to start a salon in their 
own community! Please call (212) 807-1400 x. 236 or 
e-mail members@aivf.org for information! 



Got Docs? 

We are looking for high-quality documentaries in all subject areas for international 
broadcast distribution. CS Associates has specialized in sales and pre-sales of 
documentary programs for the past twenty years. We represent a wide variety of 
programs and producers ranging from Ken Burns to Jon Else to Martin Scorcese. 
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Publisher: Elizabeth Peters 

Editor in Chief: Patricia Thomson 
leditor@aivf.org! 

Managing Editor: Paul Power 
lmdependent@aivf.orgl 

Assistant Editor: Scott Castle 
lfestivals@aivf.org! 

Interns: Dan Stei nhart, Jim Col vr 1 1 

Contributing Editors: Richard Baimbridge, Lissa Gibbs, 
Cara Mertes, Robert L. Seigel, Esq. 

Design Director: Daniel Christmas 
lstartree@speedsite.com! 

Advertising Director: Laura D. Davis 
(212) 807-1400 x. 225; ldisplayads@aivf.org! 

Advertising Rep: Bob Hebert 
lbob@aivf.org! 



National Distribution: 
Ingram Periodicals (800) 627-6247 

POSTMASTER: Send address changes to: 
The Independent Film & Video Monthly, 304 Hudson St., 6 fl„ NY, NY 10013. 

The Independent Film & Video Monthly (ISSN 0731-5198) is published monthly 
except February and September by the Foundation for Independent Video and Film 
(FIVF), a tax-exempt educational foundation dedicated to the advancement of media 
arts and artists. Subscription to the magazine is included in annual membership dues 
($55/yr individual; $35/yr student; $100/yr nonprofit/school; $150/yr business/ 
industry) paid to the Association of Independent Video and Filmmakers (AIVF), the 
national trade association of individuals involved in independent film and video. 
Library subscriptions are $75/yr. Contact AIVF, 304 Hudson St., 6 ft, NY, NY 10013, 
(212) 807-1400; fax: (212) 463-8519; independent@aivf.org; www.aivf.org 
Periodical Postage Paid at New York, NY, and at additional mailing offices. Printed in 
the USA by Cadmus Journal Services. 



^M Publication of The Independent is made possible in part with pub- 



lic funds from the New York State Council on the Arts, a state agency, 
and the National Endowment for the Arts, a federal agency. 



Publication of any advertisement in The Independent does not constitute an 
endorsement. AIVF/FIVF are not responsible for any claims made in an ad. Letters to 
The Independent should be addressed to the editor Letters may be edited for length. 
All contents are copyright of the Foundation for Independent Video and Rim, Inc. 
Reprints require written permission and acknowledgement of the article's previous 
appearance in The Independent. The Independent is indexed in the Alternative 
Press Index and is a member of the Independent Press Association. 

© Foundation for Independent Video & Film, Inc. 2001 
AIVF/FIVF staff: Elizabeth Peters, executive director; Alexander Spencer, administra- 
tive director, Michelle Coe, program director; James Israel, information services 
associate; Greg Gilpatrick & Joshua Sanchez, web consultants; Anne Hubbell, devel- 
opment associate; Ram Soppa, Nonko Yoshinaga. interns; AIVF/FIVF legal counsel: 
Robert I. Freedman, Esq. Cowan, DeBaets, Abrahams I Sheppard. 

Visit The Independent online at: www.aivf.org 

AIVF/FIVF Board of Directors: Angela Alston, Doug Block, Paul Espinosa (treasurer), 
Dee Dee Halleck, Vivian Kleiman, Lee Lew-Lee (secretary), Jim McKay (co-chair), 
Robb Moss (president), Elizabeth Peters (ex officio), James Schamus*, Valerie Soe 
(vice president), Ellen Spiro, Bart Weiss (co-chair), Jack Willis*, Debra Zimmerman*. 
*RVF Board of Directors only. 



May 2001 

VOLUME 24, NUMBER 4 www.aivf.org 



FEATURES 




31 CPB's Diversity Fund 

A new funding pool for public TV projects 
by minority producers. 

by Bob Connelly 



32 Inside the ITVS Jury Room 

One producer's experience on an ITVS 
panel, and her advice on how to make 
your application one of the 5% that 
receives funding. 

by Frances Negron- 
muntaner 



36 Stranger Than 
Fiction: Thoughts 
on Documentary 
Storytelling 




2 THE INDEPENDENT May 2001 



With three-act story 

structure all the rage among documentary 
makers and buyers, one filmmaker (and his father) 
wonder whether there's still room for alternatives. 
by Ralph Arlyck 



Turn- NCT D<" 5 7 

I S»y f A cnKT«H 8wg Bt *\e.l"5ES.' 



Upfront 



5 News 

Bush's lead on arts funding and 
digital carriage; a new cable 
outlet for independents in New 
York City; Crossover dreams. 

by Matt Spangler; 
Jim Colvill; Paul 
Power 



11 Opinion 

How to put the public into 
interactive public television. 

by Jeff Chester 



12 Wired Blue Yonder 

DVD authoring in the comfort 
of your home computer. 

by Greg Gilpatrick 



14 Profiles 

Working Films' Judith Helfand 
& Robert West; Loni Ding's 
Ancestors in the Americas; 
Laura Wilson and Cityscape 
Motion Picture Education 

by Nicole Betancourt; 
Tomio Geron; Rob 
Sabal 



18 Festival Circuit 

A changing of the guard at the 
Berlinale; the global influence 
of Rotterdam's Cinemart. 
by Claus Mueller; 
Scott Castle 



Departments 

38 Books 

Two new books about Black 

filmmaking pioner Oscar 

Micheaux; Avid Editing: A 

Guide for Beginning and 

Intermediate Users 

by Brian Frye; Greg 

Gilpatrick 




41 On View 

Independent projects opening 

or airing this month. 

by Daniel Steinhart 



FAQ & Info 

42 Distributor FAQ 

PBS Home Video puts 

Ken Burns & Co. in your VCR. 

by Lissa GlBBS 



45 Funder FAQ 

The National Black 
Programming Consortium, a 
driving engine behind two 
decades of African-American 
public television productions. 

by Michelle Coe 



49 Festivals 



53 Notices 



57 Classifieds 



@AIVF 

60 Events 



62 Salons 



COVER: Delving into matters of race: 
Roja Productions' [standing L-R] 
Camilla Haddad, Jacquie Jones, Tracye 
Matthews, Orlando Bagwell; 
[seated L-R] Michelle Materre. John 
Valadez, Sindy Gordon, and Felicia 
Lowe. Photo: Tom LeGoff 



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The New Old Guard 



What's in store from the line-up on Capitol Hill? 

by Matt Spangler 



Public broadcasting and the arts 
need have no immediate worries of falling 
on the wrong side of one of President 
Bush's fuzzy math equations. The 2002 
budget recommendations provide for the 
continuation of National Endowment for 
the Arts and National Endowment for the 
Humanities programmatic activities at 
2001 levels ($105 million for the NEA; 
$120 milion for the NEH), with an 
increase to fund staff costs at both 
agencies. The budget for the 
Corporation for Public Television, 
meanwhile, is. recommended at 
$350 million, up from 2001's $340 
million. "I think the [funding] fight 
was waged in 1994, and that's over," 
says Jerry Starr, executive director of 
public TV lobby group Citizens for 
Independent Public Broadcasting 
(CIPB). "I see nothing to suggest 
that that's on anybody's agenda." 

If Laura Bush has more sway in 
the process, in fact, says Bob Lynch, 
president and CEO of Americans for the 
Arts, those agencies might see their bud- 
gets inflated over the next four years. He 
points to Ms. Bush's record as First Lady 
of Texas, where she championed 
KLRU-TV's campaign to raise funding for 
its digital transition, was honorary chair of 
the Austin Museum of Arts, helped found 
the Texas Book Festival, and, as a former 
librarian and educator herself, raised 
money for public libraries. 

But, with only $5.3 million earmarked 
for the Texas Commission on the Arts in 
2000, the state still ranked lowest among 
all 50 in arts funding. And artists should- 
n't expect a free ride from Lynne Cheney, 
wife of Vice President Dick Cheney, who 
though once chair of the NEH herself, has 
very publicly suggested that both her for- 
mer employer and the NEA should be 
done away with. But she may be put in 
check, ironically, by her own party: In 
early February Senate Majority Leader 
Trent Lott threw his support behind the 
retention of current NEH chair — and 



Mississippi native — William Ferris. 

Lynch says that states-rights proponent 
Bush would prefer that the federal gov- 
ernment not meddle in local affairs, such 
as the 1999 flap over funding for the 
Brooklyn Museum of the Arts' "Sensa- 
tion" exhibit. The arts community can 
instead expect federal agencies to tiptoe 
around potentially incendiary works or 



President Bush has 
actually stacked his 

cabinet with appointees 

who have a fairly 

positive track record 

with respect to the arts. 



programming. Nonetheless, "He's made it 
clear that we should not spend public 
money to support obscene material or to 
denigrate religion," says Lynch. 

Though it may seem incongruous to 
some that the same man who passed leg- 
islation permitting guns inside churches 
and amusement parks in Texas could be a 
friend to the arts community, President 
Bush has actually stacked his federal cab- 
inet with appointees who have a fairly 
positive track record with respect to the 
arts. Secretary of Transportation Norm 
Mineta, who has jurisdiction over funding 
for public art, is on the board of Wolf 
Trap, the performing arts park just outside 
Washington, D.C. Alma Powell, wife of 
Secretary of State Colin Powell — who will 
have the opportunity to extend the inter- 
national cultural exchanges begun by the 
Clinton Administration — is co-chair of 
the Kennedy Center board of trustees. 
Secretary of Education Rod Paige made 
frequent appearances on Houston public 
television while superintendent ot 



EDITED BY PAUL POWER 

Houston public schools, which produced 
a monthly program for the school system. 
PBS, which already co-produces Ready 
to Learn, Mathline, and other program- 
ming with the Department of Education 
(which was recommended an 11.5% bud- 
get increase), may seize the opportunity to 
leverage Bush's pro-education agenda to 
cooperate even more with the federal 
government on programming for schools, 
libraries, and museums. CPB spokes- 
woman Jeannie Bunton speaks of biparti- 
san Senate support for "public broadcast- 
ing's educational impact" and touts the 
agency's plans for a "digital academy" and 
"digital kids initiative." Public broadcast- 
ing's educational agenda will become 
increasingly significant as it transitions to 
digital and seeks programming to 
fill the slots multicasting will afford. 
But a recent decision by the FCC 
may have jeopardized the availabil- 
ity of those precious slots. 

Weighing in on the infamous 
"must-carry" debacle in January, 
the FCC tentatively concluded that 
cable systems should be required to 
offer only one multicast digital 
channel per analog station, in addi- 
tion to "program-related streams." 
In other words, cable stations may 
not be required to carry the extra 
channels of programming that pub- 
lic broadcasters thought would be carried 
under the digital regime. The agency is 
now casting about for public comment on 
how "program-related streams." should be 
defined, but public broadcasters fear the 
action may impinge upon stations' ability 
to offer more childrens' and public affairs 
programming. CPB/PBS was also leverag- 
ing its ability to serve a multi- channel 
audience of 170 million as a means of 
attracting state funding to help ease the 
cost of the switch to digital, according to 
Bunton. 

Public broadcasting has "huge capital 
expenses associated with digital TV con- 
version," explains Andrew Schwartz- 
mann, president and CEO of the Media 
Access Project. "Exactly where and how 
that's going to come is not clear, but it's 
not going to come from the federal lv\ 
eminent." 

Dave Clark, director ot TV operations 
for CPB, agrees that the FCC action "does 
change the dynamic potentially >igniti- 
cantly." He is helping coordinate CPB's 



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"future fund" program, which began 
searching for a budgetary panacea in the 
wake of the line item-slashing 105th 
Congress (1997-98). In addition to 
encouraging member stations to consoli- 
date their operations, CPB is dreaming up 
applications for the brave new digital 
world, such as an interconnection system 
that could allow an editor in one market 
to operate an Avid system in another. 

For WNVC-TV/WNVT-TV in Falls 
Church, Virginia, which has lobbied 
unsuccessfully for CPB funding since the 
stations lost federal backing in 1998, the 
FCC decision on must-carry could impact 
its very survival. "What we are planning 
on doing is putting WNVC on WNVT's 
multicasting channel," says Elizabeth 
Harris, development director for the 
independent public TV duopoly. "If this 
multicasting thing doesn't work out, 
we're up the creek." 

Public broadcasters seeking FCC chair 
Michael Powell to lend a sympathetic ear 
may find a copy of The Wealth of Nations 
thrown in their face. The Secretary of 
State's son has made abundantly clear his 
market-based convictions, so despite his 
avowed sympathies for the financial drain 
on public TV created by its digital make- 
over, he may insist on the principals 
working out a solution amongst them- 
selves. 

Starr's CIPB is alarmed at the prospect 
of Powell voting again on religious broad- 
caster Cornerstone TV's attempts to buy 
WQED-TV in Pittsburgh [see The Inde- 
pendent, May 2000] . This could pave the 
way for some 70 or 80 public TV stations 
to go on the block, Starr insists, seriously 
fracturing the system's role as the fore- 
most arbiter of diversity in mass media. 

The bottom line is this: although the 
President's proposed budget for public 
television isn't ringing any alarms, sup- 
porters of public TV should stay vigilant, 
as there are other, less visible ways its 
infrastructure may be eaten away. 

Matt Spangler is a Washington, D.C. -based 
writer and filmmaker. 



ERRATA 

In the March cover story, the distributor of 
Memento was incorrectly identified, due to an 

editing error. The distributor is NewMarket 
Films. In "Access Meets Art" [April 2000], video- 
maker Ellen Steinfeld's name was misspelled, 
and the correct title of her video is Constructing 
Hope. The Independent regrets these errors. 




Mai 2001 THE INDEPENDENT 7 



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METRO ANGELS 

New Cable Outlet for New York City Indies 




omit 'k 

Edward Vilga's film Dead Broke (pictured), cablecast in the Big Apple via the new Metro Angelika Film Festival. 



New York filmmakers have a new cable 
TV outlet available to them now that 
Cablevision, a division of Rainbow Media, 
has teamed up with production/distribu- 
tion outfit Angelika Entertainment. The 
result is a weekend screening series, enti- 
tled the Metro Angelika Film Festival, 
described as "a series of fiction and docu- 
mentary films about the New York experi- 
ence." The first series will be broadcast 
from May 18-20 on Cablevision's Metro 
Channel (channel 70 on main cable 
provider Time Warner), a channel avail- 
able in the New York region that is com- 
mitted to broadcasting various programs 
by, about, and for New Yorkers, and will 
coincide with live screenings at New 
York's Anthology Film Archives. 

The festival is the brainchild of Barney 
Oldfield and David Maquiling of 
Angelika Entertainment, who for four 
years have sponsored and programmed 
the New Filmmakers series at Anthology 
every Wednesday, and in the process pro- 
vided a valuable forum for new filmmak- 
ers to screen their works in front of an 
audience. Oldfield and Maquiling have 
been interested in expanding the series in 
order to provide greater exposure for the 
filmmakers featured. After considering 
Internet distribution, they instead turned 
their sights to cable TV, which led them 
to discussions with the Metro channel. "It 
seemed like a logical thing for a New York 
film festival about New York, because 
they focus on the city," says Oldfield. "In 
New York the Metro channel is the only 
viable source for something like this," 
adds Maquiling. "It's either Cablevision or 
Time Warner, and I don't think Time 
Warner is receptive to this kind of thing" 



After an extended dialogue with vice 
president of programming and develop- 
ment at Metro Channel, Judith Tolkow, 
the Metro Angelika festival was born. 
"The festival provides a way for us to 
reach out to the filmmaking community 
of New York," says Tolkow. "It also gives 
us the opportunity to bring to our viewers 
different points of view about the New 
York experience. We're not in the inde- 
pendent film business, so we're just dip- 
ping our toe in the water and, having seen 
the films, we're very pleased." The festival 
is scheduled to feature 12 two-hour pack- 
ages of features and shorts that will run 
repeatedly on the channel over the course 
of the weekend. The Anthology screen- 
ings will take place during this same peri- 
od and will be complemented by live 
interviews with the featured directors. 
"Our goal," says Tolkow, "is to launch the 
festival this year and build on it in the 
future, hopefully leading to a yearly slot." 
Oldfield is similarly ambitious: "Cable- 
vision will have the rights to show the 
package over a period of two to three 
years. I'm hoping the festival does well 
and will be able to go on. We would be 
hoping to have maybe a weekly show. 
There's certainly enough material." At 
press-time, Metro Channel was adopting 
a wait-and-see approach about extending 
the festival into a year-round series. 

Both Angelika and Cablevision are 
involved in the selection process, each 
drawing on their own expertise. "We 
know the TV world," says Tolkow, "and 
Barney knows the independent film 
world." In deciding which films to show, 
Oldfield and Maquiling have, however, 
found themselves more restricted than 



when curating the New Filmmakers 
series: "We had to adapt our curating 
process," says Maquiling, "because it is a 
different venue — TV — which is more 
commercially driven and is aimed at a 
more commercial audience than we are 
used to at Anthology. We also have to be 
a little more careful of content, things 
like language and nudity. Actually a lot of 
filmmakers are willing to leave out cer- 
tain words and edit their films because we 
are going to have commercial breaks." 

Although the festival's content does 
need to conform to television's more 
commercial restrictions, Oldfield and 
Maquiling are determined not to shy 
away from more difficult material. "We 
want to provide a balanced mixture of 
stuff that's commercially driven and stuff 
that's more challenging," says Maquiling 
who is confident that the festival will 
reach a sizable audience: "It will start 
Friday night after the Knicks game, which 
has a huge audience." 

Whether viewed by weekend sports 
fans who might be watching the Knicks 
or independent film buffs who seek it out, 
the festival is significant in that it allows 
the work of struggling filmmakers to 
reach a much larger audience than would 
be possible at a theatrical screening. This 
is a sentiment echoed by Edward Vilga, 
whose debut feature film, Dead Broke, is 
part of the Metro Angelika program: "I 
think what is exciting about the festival is 
that my film will be seen in a proper the- 
ater with an audience, and yet also gain 
much larger exposure through television. 
I just want to get my film seen, and this 
will bring it to a much wider audience." 
Whereas a screening at Anthology might 
reach a few hundred viewers, the TV 
broadcasts could be watched by any num- 
ber of the Metro Channel's approximate- 
ly three million subscribers. There's 
another small bonus for the filmmakers: 
according to Tolkow, screened features 
will receive $5,000 and shorts will recei\ e 
a pro-rated portion of this. 

With many online venues tailing to live 
up to the promises ot their founders, 
opportunities tor outlets on other medi 
urns are to he encouraged. Curated cable 
outlets for independents are tew and tar 
between, and the Metro Channel is a 
welcome addition. 

list Colvuj. 

Jim t. lolviU i> on intern at ["he Independent. 



\l.n 2001 THE INDEPENDENT 9 



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10 THE INDEPENDENT May 2001 



Web Lab Crosses Over 

When Marc Weiss decides to do some- 
thing new, it's worth a second look. Weiss, 
founder and former executive producer at 
P.O.V, set up the media lab/think-tank 
Web Lab in 1997 "to explore and expand 
the potential of new media to change peo- 
ple's lives and the larger society." Web 
Lab's most recent initiative is Crossover, a 
hothouse environment established for 
mediamakers of all types to create inter- 
active projects that, Weiss says, have the 
potential to fuse "the passion, substance, 
and storytelling skills ot filmmakers with 
the participatory elements of new media." 

Crossover will have two main compo- 
nents — a workshop (Studio A) and a pro- 
duction lab (Studio B). Approximately 30 
individuals — half each from the film/ 
video and the new media worlds — will be 
selected on the basis of project proposals 
and individual skills to come up with new 
models, ideas, and ways of communicat- 
ing their visions to a wider audience. One 
month after the development of ideas in 
Studio A, participants will submit specific 
project proposals, from which five to 10 
will be chosen for Studio B — a format 
modelled roughly on the Sundance Labs. 

Projects emanating from Crossover will 
be taken into production by Web Lab and, 
says Weiss, "will be to new media what a 
good independent film is to cinema: pre- 
cocious, breaking new ground, with lots of 
new ideas, and with the potential to be 
commercially successful." 

If all of this sounds vague, it's because, 
Weiss admits, the concept is quite clear 
but the outcome is anybody's guess. What 
Weiss is sure of, however, is a new direc- 
tion with a unique marriage of film, video, 
and new media that incorporates an inter- 
active element. "We're aren't here to 
meet expectations; we're here to explode 
them. The goal is to create projects that 
have an impact on the culture." 

Crossover is funded by the Rockefeller 
Foundation, supported by the Howard 
Gilman Foundation, and has a core advi- 
sory group comprising the Sundance 
Institute, DGA, and Banff New Media 
Institute. Supporting organizations 
include FAF, ITVS, Creative Capital, IFP, 
SAG, AFTRA, RESFest, and AIVF. 
Applications available at www.weblab. 
org; deadline: July 13. 

Paul Power is managing editor of The 
Independent. 



G 



tS^J^SS^J^J 



Where's the Public in 
Interactive Public Television? 



by Jeffrey Chester 

AS WE MOVE FORWARD, HOWEVER HALT- 
ingly, into the digital future, public broad- 
casting represents our best hope of stak- 
ing a genuine public-interest claim in the 
emerging new medium of interactive tele- 
vision (ITV). Admittedly, no one is cer- 
tain exactly what ITV will turn out to 
be — some combination of electronic pro- 
gram guide, video-on-demand, online 
shopping, multi-player games, and 
Internet access, no doubt — but the dan- 
ger that ITV will become a thoroughly 
commercialized platform is a real one. 
And that's why public broadcasting's 
moves in this area are so important. 

Most of the nation's cable companies, 
seeking to cash in on the e -commerce 
revolution, have upgraded their systems 
to full, two-way digital communication, 
ushering in a new era of "enhanced" or 
interactive television. Tied to intelligent 
set-top boxes and other household and 
personal appliances, the new system will 
marry the simplicity and emotional 
impact of television with the depth and 
diversity of the Internet, producing what 
Deutsche Bank has called an "advertising 
nirvana." More to the point, as Broad- 
casting & Cable magazine pointed out, 
"interactive advertising dollars will posi- 
tion broadcasters to capitalize on the 
rewards of target marketing, allowing 
them to take aim at the best of both 
worlds, i.e., the TV and the Internet..., 
[with] the ability to track what a user is 
viewing and then target advertising to 
pique a consumer's interest." 

But the new interactive, broadband 
platform that cable will deliver to millions 
of American homes could turn out to be 
much more than a televised shopping 
spree. For the full public-interest poten- 
tial of ITV to be realized, however, public 
broadcasters will have to move ahead on 
three broad fronts — as advocates, as 
exemplars, and, recalling the original 
Carnegie Commission on Educational 
Television mandate for public broadcast- 
ing in 1967, as "a voice for groups in the 
community that may otherwise be 



unheard, ... a forum for debate and con- 
troversy." 

First things first. The Federal Com- 
munication Commission has launched an 
inquiry into ITV in order to determine 
(among other things) how and whether 
this new platform should be regulated. 
While the pubcasters' troika — the Public 
Broadcasting Service, Corporation for 
Public Broadcasting, and the lobbying 
organization known as America's Public 
Television Stations — has never been par- 
ticularly vocal in Washington (beyond 
making occasional pleas for increased fed- 
eral support and fending off attacks from 
right-wing politicos, that is), it needs to 
take a strong stand now for an open ITV 
platform. As the recent AOL Time 
Warner merger review made clear, there is 
no end to the mischief that the cable 
giants can engage in, free as they are from 
direct competition, if they seek to dis- 
criminate against unaffiliated online con- 
tent providers. The safeguards that the 
Federal Trade Commission insisted upon 
in its approval of the merger (prohibiting 
AOL-TW from interfering with the ITV 
"trigger" signals that make viewer interac- 
tivity possible, and opening up their plat- 
form to competitive Internet service 
providers) should now be extended to the 
80% of the cable market beyond AOL- 
TW's reach. Even though it's likely that 
PBS, for its "halo effect" alone, will be 
welcomed into cable's ITV fold, as 
trustees of the public interest, pubcasters 
should advocate for an open ITV platform 
that will allow other noncommercial pro- 
grammers to participate in this important 
part of the digital revolution. 

Second, in launching its own ITV ser- 
vice, PBS must resist the "t-commerce 
temptation" that has captured the imagi- 
nation of the cable operators, who seem 
determined to transform the set-top boxes 
sitting in our living rooms into entertain- 
ment vending machines. More important- 
ly, PBS must reach beyond its own "more- 
of-the-same" inclinations — merely using 
the content-rich ITV platform, that is, to 
raise funds, flatter underwriters, and 
repeat past successes. Early reports of the 



creation of six PBS "walled gardens" 
(closed online content areas that restrict 
browsing to specified sites), based on 
Nova, Zoom, Mr. Rogers, and other PBS 
staples, do not sound promising. Nor did 
the press release that PBS issued late last 
year heralding an agreement with 
RespondTV that will enable viewers "to 
join their local PBS station, interact with 
program sponsors, and purchase educa- 
tional products through their television." 

"PBS must resist the 

't-commerce temptation' that 

has captured the imagination of 

the cable operators, who seem 

determined to transform the 

set-top boxes sitting in our 

living rooms into entertainment 

vending machines." 

In the overheated ITV marketplace, full 
of product tie-ins and impulse shopping, 
PBS will have to set a better example than 
that. Communication rather than com- 
merce should be the key to the interactive 
public television revolution. 

Finally, public broadcasters should 
recall their own past. Our system of pub- 
lic broadcasting was founded, after all, on 
the principles of openness and diversity, 
and that's still a standard by which public 
broadcasting must be measured. "We seek 
for the artist, the technician, the journal- 
ist, the scholar, and the public servant 
freedom to create, freedom to innovate, 
freedom to be heard in this most far- 
reaching medium," wrote the Carnegie 
Commission in 1967. "We seek for the cit- 
izen freedom to view, to see programs that 
the present system, by its incompleteness, 
denies him." When PBS, just over a 
decade ago, was judged to have fallen far 
short of that ideal, advocates pressed for 
the establishment ot the Independent 
Television Service, which continues to 
address the issues of diversity and inclu- 
siveness. And now, with the slate wiped 
clean by the shift to the interactive, digi- 
tal platform, public broadcasting has an 
opportunity to re-invent itselt, and to re- 
discover its roots in the process. 

Jeffrey Chester directs the C Campaign for 

Digital Democracy. He helped direct the cam 

paigrt which established ITVS and coded the sue- 

cessful effort to impose open access and content 

•iajeguards as a condition oj the At )L-Time 

Warner me g< 

May 2001 THE INDEPENDENT 11 



GiEi 






5) 



Author, Author 

DVD Authoring Systems for Your Desktop Computer 

by Greg Gilpatrick 



< DVD Studio Pro: Apple's DVD 
authoring software 




DVD Studio Pro 



The 733 MHz PowerMac G4's 
SuperDrive, capable of writing DVDs 



While independent filmmakers around 
the country have purchased their own 
miniDV cameras, decks, and editing sys- 
tems, there still is one link in the produc- 
tion chain that has stubbornly remained 
analog — home exhibition. Until now, if 
you wanted to show your pristine digital 
work to your friends and family, it 
required dubbing to a low-quality VHS 
tape. Finally, new technology from com- 
puter companies Pioneer, Apple, and 
Compaq allows independent producers to 
create DVD disks with their desktop com- 
puter that can immediately play on home 
DVD players and computers with built-in 
DVD drives. 

Introduced at the Macworld confer- 



ence in January by Apple CEO Steve Jobs 
under the catchphrase "Power to Burn," 
Apple's DVD products are aimed both at 
the professional media producer and con- 
sumer-level hobbyist. Apple's products 
include two software programs and a 
device for writing DVDs dubbed 
"SuperDrive." At press time the only 
Apple computer available with the 
SuperDrive is the high-end 733 MHz 
PowerMac G4. However, one can almost 
be sure that as availability increases and 
prices drop on the SuperDrive, Apple will 
include it across their product line. 

In the Windows PC world, Compaq is 
the only manufacturer to announce an 
integrated DVD authoring system so far. 



Although Compaq's is based upon the 
same Pioneer drive as Apple's, their 
approach is to include software from 
existing video companies like Pinnacle 
Systems and Sonic Solutions. Since 
Compaq is releasing their system after 
Apple, less is known about how theirs will 
work. 

The heart of the DVD authoring 
process is a combination CD-Re Writable/ 
DVD-Recordable drive manufactured by 
Pioneer. This means that the drive can 
write to CD-R and CD-RW disks, like 
many drives today, but it can also write to 
special DVD-R disks that can be played in 
standard DVD decks. The technology to 
write to DVDs has existed for many years, 
but until Pioneer released this specific 
drive, a device for recording to DVDs cost 
several thousand dollars more. 

Apple seems to have been planning for 
this product for a long time. They are 
simultaneously releasing two software 
products for authoring DVDs. The first, 
iDVD, follows in the steps of Apple's 
other free iApplications (iMovie for edit- 
ing video and iTunes for working with 
MP3 music files) and is included for free 
on any computer with the SuperDrive. 
iDVD features an intuitive interface with 
automated controls and presets for easily 
converting video and stills to DVD. There 
are several types of menu styles built-in to 
iDVD and the process is simplified to the 
point of dragging your quicktime clips 
from iMovie, Final Cut Pro, or any other 
video editing application and burning the 
DVD. 

Another feature is the ability to make a 
slideshow of your digital pictures. 
Although a simple sounding feature, this 
may become a significant tool for those 
with digital cameras who have found it 
difficult to share their pictures with oth- 
ers. For media producers this feature 
could also be useful to showcase stills of a 
production and its crew along with the 
video itself. 

The second DVD application from 
Apple is one aimed squarely at profession- 
al media producers. DVD Studio Pro is 
based on the Astarte DVD authoring 
technology Apple bought about a year 
ago. While iDVD is designed for the 
utmost simplicity, DVD Studio Pro allows 
the user to configure every option avail- 
able within the DVD video specification. 
Features of DVD Studio Pro allow includ- 



12 THE INDEPENDENT May 2001 



ing up to 99 video tracks, Dolby Digital 
AC-3 audio, links to the Internet from 
menus, eight audio streams, 32 different 
subtitle streams, and nine different cam- 
era angles. 

Beside the extreme difference in tech- 
nical ability from iDVD, DVD Studio Pro 
also allows much greater flexibility in 
designing the aesthetics of your DVD. 
Video clips and Adobe Photoshop files 
can both be imported into the application 
for creating your disk's menus. 

While iDVD is designed specifically for 
Apple's built-in SuperDrive, DVD Studio 
Pro is designed for a range of external 
DVD drives, digital tape drives, portable 
hard drives, and the SuperDrive. This 
means that even if you don't have the 
PowerMac G4 with the SuperDrive, you 
can still author a DVD and either burn it 
at home or take your digital tape or 
portable hard drive to a DVD service 
bureau for production. If you happen to 
have an older PowerMac G4 with a DVD- 
RAM, you can author your media onto a 
DVD-RAM disk but you will still only be 
able to watch the disk on a computer with 
a DVD -RAM drive and not on a standard 
DVD player. 

No matter what type of DVD authoring 
application you use, the main function of 
a DVD application is the encoding of 
video into the MPEG2 standard that 
DVDs are based upon. Until recently, it 
was normal for MPEG2 encoding to take 
up to 12 minutes for every minute of 
video. Apple's system introduces a new 
software encoder that takes advantage of 
a special part of the G4 processor that 
reduces the time to 2-3 minutes for every 
minute of video. Beside this significant 
change, DVD Studio Pro allows the addi- 
tion of third-party encoders that could do 
the encoding in real-time (one minute of 
encoding for one minute of video) . 

While DVD authoring technology is 
still out of the budgetary realm of most 
independent producers, many should still 
be excited by the prospects of creating 
digital copies of their work, without any 
attendant loss in visuals. Even if you don't 
buy a DVD authoring system yourself, 
many producers are bound to set-up shop 
as DVD service providers at a much lower 
cost than before. 

Greg Gilpatrick lgreg@randomroom.com] is a 
New York-based video /filmmaker and technology 

consultant. 



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Mn 2001 THE INDEPENDENT 13 



ludith Helfand & 
Robert West 

WORKING FILMS 

by Nicole 



A PACKED HOUSE WATCHES YOUR Docu- 
mentary film on an important social issue. 
When the lights go up, everyone bursts 
into applause, then engages in a heated 
discussion. Grassroots organizations at the 
event offer resources on the issue. It's a 
filmmaker's dream screening. 

Robert West made this dream a reality 
for countless filmmakers during his 12 
years as curator of film and video at the 
Mint Museum and director of the 
Charlotte Film and Video Festival in 
North Carolina. In addition, he was the 
founder and director of the Charlotte Gay 
and Lesbian Film Series, the first and 
longest-running gay film series in North 
Carolina. Most people would feel satisfied 
having produced so many successful film 
events around social issues. But West 
wanted more. "The event would be over 
and you'd think: was what happened here' 
enough? It was powerful to watch what 
these great films can do, capture an audi- 
ence in a way that became a collective 
force, but then afterwards that force 
would dissipate," says West. 

Meanwhile in New York, Judith 
Helfand was co-producing and co-direct- 
ing Uprising of '34 with George Stoney. 
The film ties the General Textile Strike of 
1934 to labor, power, and economics in 
the South today. In 1994, Helfand and 
Stoney went to 

Charlotte 



Hr **~* 





to screen a rough-cut for some of the 
film's participants. They lacked a vital 
piece of equipment. A friend of theirs 
phoned West and asked if he would loan 
the out-of-towners a video projector. West 
describes the fateful moment when he 
first met Helfand: "I lugged the projector 
to the basement of the First Methodist 
Church and stepped into a room that was 
full of folks, all in conversation or milling 
about. I wasn't sure I had the right room, 
when I spotted this lovely, lively, dark- 
haired woman coming at me, with arms 
upraised, saying, 'You must be Robert!!!!' 
That was Judith." 

Over the next two years West helped 
Helfand organize other local screenings of 
her film. They were both committed to 
using documentary films for social 
change. Both saw that independent docu- 
mentaries were under-used and had short 
shelf lives. In response to that glaring 
problem, Working Films was conceived in 
1996. Their first major project together 
was From Farm to Fast Food: On the Job in 
NC, a statewide educational project that 
uses the Internet and independent docu- 
mentary films to teach curricula on North 
Carolina's economic history. Among the 
films shown in classrooms across the state 
were The Uprising of '34, Troublesome 
Creek, Tobacco Blues, Going to Chicago, 
and Fast Food Women. 

In February 2000, Working Films 



launched as a full-time organization. 
Helfand and West help filmmakers devel- 
op issue -specific models for fundraising 
and outreach campaigns. Working Films is 
based in North Carolina with West, while 
Helfand works from her base in New York 
City. 

"Social change happens because people 
are moved, and because they're moved 
they want to do something," says Helfand, 
who has dedicated her life to moving peo- 
ple with film. Her last work, A Healthy 
Baby Girl, was a video diary of her family's 
experience with her DES -related cancer. 
She is currently in postproduction on the 
, sequel, Blue Vinyl, a toxic comedy about 
I home, family, vinyl siding, industry- 
1 sponsored science, and the ecology of 
; denial. 

For Working Films, Helfand keeps tabs 
P on the latest documentaries in produc- 
ts tion, develops partnerships, and works 
with foundations. West devotes all of his 
time to Working Films. As executive 



director, he writes grants, works with film- 
makers, and handles day-to-day adminis- 
tration. When taking on a project, they 
first come up with an outreach plan. Then 
they usually do their first run in North 
Carolina to determine the most effective 
strategies. Finally, they take these targeted 
campaigns around the country. 

Two Working Films' projects were invit- 
ed to the Sundance Film Festival this 
year: Invisible Revolution and Trembling 
Before G-d. West and Helfand took full 
advantage of the spotlight. They planned 
a series of events that had political, emo- 
tional, and even spiritual impact on the 
local community. Paul Malcom of the 
LA. Weekly declared, "West and Helfand 
pulled off what was easily the biggest coup 
of the festival... by getting another 
Sundance documentary, Beverly Peter- 
son's Invisible Revolution, screened at the 
Utah statehouse." This film is a provoca- 
tive account of young people involved in 
the white supremacist movement as well 
as those in the counter anti-racist ARA 
movement. The screening was perfectly 
timed, occurring the day before legislators 
voted on a hate crimes bill. The bill 
passed its first two votes in the State 
Senate (and is waiting a House vote at 
press time) . 

They also helped organize a discussion 
at Sundance around Sandi Dubowski's 
Trembling Before G-d, during which a 
Mormon father, attending with his wife 
and two babies, shared his struggle to rec- 
oncile his bisexuality and his spiritual 
beliefs. And they set up a screening of On 
Hostile Ground, Jenny Raskin and Liz 
Mermin's film about the attrition of abor- 
tion providers, at the University of Utah's 
medical school. As a result, more medical 
students are now being trained as abor- 
tion providers in Utah. 

As West explains, "The end game is 
really impact. Whether that's impact on 
the public or public policy, that's where 
we keep our sights." 

Working Films, 602 South Fifth Ave., 
Wilmington NC 28401; (910)342-9000. 
In New York: 200 West 72nd St., New 
York, NY 10023; (212) 875-0456; fax: 
501-0889; www.workingfilms.org. 

Nicole Betancourt is an Emmy Award-winning 

filmmaker and Creative Director of 

MediaRights.org. For more information about 

Working Films and how to design a documentary 

outreach campaign, visit www.MediaRights.org. 



k 14 TlJE INDEPE 

I i i 



INDEPENDENT 



Any documentary covering Thomas 
Jefferson, Lewis and Clark, and the 
Transcontinental Railroad might seem 
like a typical hour on the History 
Channel. But Loni Ding's Ancestors in the 
Americas is not your typical historical doc- 
umentary. Ancestors — a two-part series 
that aired on PBS in March and again on 
selected stations this month — is the first 
television series attempting to chronicle 
the long history of Asians in America. An 
unusual mix a fictionalized first-person 
voiceover, historical footage and stills, 
and contemporary interviews, it spans the 
world, covering not only the 
migra- 



Lord Ding 




tion of Asians to 
North and South Amer- 
ica and the Caribbean, 
but also the history of 
contact between the East 
and West. 

Such an ambitious pro- 
ject — 11 years in the 
making — could only have 
been attempted by a film- 
maker of Ding's standing. 
Ding has a long history in 
independent media, pro- 
ducing shows for KQED in San Francisco, 
then making ground-breaking documen- 
taries on Asian Americans, including 
Bean Sprouts (1980), Nisei Soldier (1983), 
which was one of the early films by an 
Asian American to air on PBS, and The 
Color of Honor (1988). As a media policy 
advocate, she also helped start the 
National Asian American Telecommun- 
ications Association and ITVS. 

Ding's work has always had an explicit- 
ly political edge. "My natural response is 
to do something about injustice," she says 
from her home in San Francisco. In Nisei 
Soldier and The Color of Honor, Ding 
exposed the hidden history of Japanese 
American incarceration in World War II. 
"I made The Color of Honor right at the 
time of redress movement," Ding says, 
referring to the 1980s movement among 



Japanese Americans whose families were 
detained in U.S. prison camps during 
World War II, which eventually resulted 
in an apology from President Reagan. 

In contrast to her previous work, which 
covered specific issues, "I felt [Ancestors] 
needed to be done in a more fundamental, 
foundational way," says Ding. Here she 
attempts to chronicle the entire history of 
Asian Americans and shot footage in 
Hong Kong, China, India, Cuba, the 
Philippines, and the U.S. Despite funding 
cutbacks and other obstacles, Ding raised 
$1.8 million for the project over 11 years. 
Funders included the NEH, PBS, the 
Rockefeller, Ford, and MacArthur foun- 
dations, NAATA, and Citibank. 

The series' first program focuses on the 
17th to 19th century global migration of 
Filipinos to Mexico, and Indians and 
Chinese to Mexico, South America and 
the Caribbean, while the second relates 
Chinese history in the Western frontier. 
Ding felt it crucial to cover 
migration to areas outside the 
U.S. because "we have to 
understand the global con- 
text. I'm interested not only 
in a group-by-group history, 
but how they all tie in to 
American history and how 
American history is tied to 
i other regions in the world." 
^ ' Currently Ding is working on 
episode three of the project, 
which will cover the late 
1880s to the 1920s and is slat- 
ed to air in the fall. 

Ding had twin objectives: to make the 
series historically accurate, but at the 
same time to make it moving and enter- 
taining. The series contains dramatic pho- 
tography of hidden monuments, such as a 
maze of irrigation ditches in a forest, long 
forgotten roadside tombstones, and lively 
interviews with contemporary Chinese in 
Cuba. With academic precision, Ding 
shows why it was so important for Thomas 
Jefferson to have Chinese plates to eat on, 
and the role tea from China played in 
world markets, then illustrates how these 
events relate to Asian migration to the 
"New World." She shows how the 
Chinese not only built railroads and 
worked the fields, but also brought useful 
knowledge to the U.S on such subjects as 
irrigation and orange farming and initiat- 



ed legal and political challenges to exclu- 
sionary laws. 

The first-person narrator, who acts as 
an all-encompassing ancestor, is the most 
interesting — and daring — technical as- 
pect of the film. Ding did all the female 
narration herself, and drew on actors Sab 
Shimono for the male voiceover in the 
first program and Pat Morita for the sec- 
ond. Using this kind of narration was 
especially difficult, but ultimately neces- 
sary for Ding, because of its emotional 
impact. "You have to create and express a 
sense of place, human characters, and 
voice, so information is conveyed in the 
voice itself," she explains. "There's a feel- 
ing for what it is, rather than just infor- 
mation." 

Ding first tried this "docu-memoir" 
method in Nisei Soldier. This approach 
does not try to give a literal scene of the 
historical moment. Rather, says Ding, 
"What I'm interested in is the stance out- 
side of [the past] , mixing past and present 
physically. To be in at least in two places. 
To allow yourself to have both those con- 
sciousnesses." In Ancestors, this occurs, 
for example, with a male voiceover read- 
ing from 1870 testimony of a Chinese 
worker while the video shows workers in 
present-day China. As Ding explains, 
"You're not trying to get lost in that time. 
It's an active reaching for it. You have to 
work for it. I'm trying to have us under- 
stand what these events are as human 
experience." 

At the same time, Ding does not want 
the piece to get narrowly defined as an 
Asian story. "I'm not interested in a nar- 
rowing framing of experience to talk 
about contributions people made. The 
story is much deeper than that. It's laid 
out in terms of economics, politics, cul- 
ture, personal human meaning. I'm inter- 
ested in what you can learn. I myself 
learned all these things about all these 
connections to the rest of world. I find it 
very exciting." 

Ancestors airs this month on PBS sta- 
tions in New York, Boston, and Los 
Angeles. For further information, contact: 
CET, 1940 Hearst Ave Berkeley, CA 
94709; (510) 848-1656; tax: (510) 841 
1263; londing@sirius.com 

Tamio Geron writes about film 
and urban politics in Xcw York City. 



May 2001 THE INDEPENDENT 15 



The Independent Feature Project 
presents the 23rd Annual 

JFP MARKET 

September 30 -October 5, 2001 
New York City 



N INITE OSSIBILITIES. 

START THE JOURNEY Nt 




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Early deadline: May 18 
Final deadline: June 8 



Filmmakers & screenwriters: 
submit features, works-in-progress, 
scripts, shorts, and documentaries 
to the original Market devoted to 
American independent filmmaking. 



FOR AN APPLICATION: 
visitwww.ifp.org 
or contact the IFP at 
104 West 29th Street. 12th Floor 
New York, NY 10001-5310 
P: 212.465.8200 
F: 212.465.8525 
E: marketinfo@ifp.org 





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. . .or order both Toolkit titles for $55 / $40 members 

Other essential resources for independents: 

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The mission of the Association of Independent Video 
and Filmmakers (AIVF) is to increase the creative 
and professional opportunities for independent video 
and filmmakers and to ensure and enhance the growth 
of independent media by providing services, advocacy, 
and information. In these ways, AIVF promotes 
diversity and democracy in the communication and 
expression of ideas and images. 

AIVF Founding Principles: 

1 The Association is an organization of and for independen - 
video- and filmmakers. 

2 The Association encourages excellence, commitment 
and independence; it stands for the principle that video an 
filmmaking is more than just a job, that it goes beyond 
economics to involve the expression of broad human 
values. 

3 The Association works, through the combined efforts o1 
the membership, to provide practical, informational, and 
moral support for independent video- and filmmakers and 
is dedicated to ensuring the survival and providing support 
for the continuing growth of independent video- and 
filmmaking. 

4 The Association does not limit its support to one genre, 
ideology, or aesthetic, but furthers diversity of vision in 
artistic and social consciousness. 

5 The Association champions independent video and film 
as valuable, vital expressions of our culture, and is 
determined to open, by mutual action, pathways toward 
exhibition of this work to the community at large. 






Fade in: MIT Professor Henry Jenkins 
is giving a lecture to a group of prospec- 
tive filmmakers about the style and sensi- 
bility of the man whose name is synony- 
mous with the action-oriented exploita- 
tion film, Roger Corman. With an oeuvre 
of more than 50 films, including Bloody 
Mama, Swamp Women, and The Trip, it's 
hardly a highbrow affair. But these stu- 
dents aren't interested in Corman for 
purely academic reasons; they're going to 
be working for him — sort of. 

Flashback, early 2000: Laura Wilson, 
an energetic young filmmaker completes 
her graduate work at Emerson College 
and is working as the director of educa- 
tion at the Boston Film and Video 
Foundation (BFVF). Wilson envisions an 
innovative approach to film education 
where students will actually serve as 
apprentices in key roles on professional 
film shoots. She and her mentor, the ven- 
erable Boston filmmaker Richard 
Broadman, pilot the idea in a short-film 
class at the BFVF. Broadman dies sudden- 
ly, catalyzing Wilson into action: she's 
determined to find a way to launch this 
new approach to film education. 

Cut to: Robert Patton-Spruill, the 
Boston-based director (Squeeze, 1996) 
opens FilmShack, a professional produc- 
tion and postproduction facility with a full 
range of equipment services. Plunging for- 
ward with her apprenticeship idea, Wilson 
convinces Patton-Spruill to lease space in 
FilmShack with access to production and 
postproduction equipment. With this 
agreement in hand, Wilson attracts 
enough investor financing to launch her 
new company, Cityscape Motion Picture 
Education Program, last year. 

The Turning Point: Even before 
Cityscape opens, Wilson has the good for- 
tune to meet Roger Corman, who's in 
Boston attending the New England Film 
and Video Festival. Wilson outlines her 
vision of Cityscape's apprenticeship pro- 
gram to Corman, who loves the idea. 
Freed from the constraints of a traditional 
academic program and with a commit- 
ment to using professionals in key posi- 
tions, Cityscape seems viable. 

A week later, Corman faxes Wilson an 
offer: His company, Concord-New Hori- 
zon, will provide $60,000 in production 
funds, help develop the project, and dis- 
tribute the finished feature. Says Corman, 
"I've always believed in helping young tal- 



ented filmmakers get their 
start. I also liked the idea of 
participating in a joint com- 
mercial/educational project." 

Suddenly, Cityscape is on 
the map. In April, a short col- 
umn appears in the Sunday 
Boston Globe announcing the 
Corman/Cityscape deal. All 
over town, aspiring writers 
dust off their B-movie treat- 
ments and fire them off to 
Wilson. She and Cityscape's 
program director, Paula 
Ribeiro, pore over the entries, 
arriving at three top choices. 
Treatments and scene outlines 
are forwarded to Corman's 
offices, where Frances Doel, 
vice president of development, evaluates 
the stories for the characteristics that 
reflect the traditional Corman signature: 
an action-oriented suspense story with 
clear commercial potential. After all, this 
is the company whose founder recently 
published How I Made a Hundred Movies 
in Hollywood and Never Lost a Dime. 

Together, Cityscape and Concord-New 
Horizon purchase the rights to The 
Strangler's Wife by Mark Dickison, a film 
school grad who is now a Boston attorney. 
The story of a woman who begins to 
understand that her husband is actually 
the Boston Strangler, The Strangler's Wife 
is a sixties period piece. Corman suggests 
adapting the story into the present and 
the initial script revision begins. 

By May, Cityscape officially opens its 
doors and a lucky group of eight appren- 
tices work on the Corman project. Paul 
Oullette of Yankee Classic Pictures guides 
the revision of The Strarigler's Wife in a 
collaborative screenwriting class that 
transforms the scene outline into a fin- 
ished script. Each version of the screen- 
play goes to Doel, who provides the class 
with feedback and suggestions. As with 
any low-budget film, says Wilson, "limita- 
tions require creative solutions," and it's 
up to the class to generate these. 

Meanwhile, preproduction work com- 
mences. Wilson uses her extensive con- 
nections in the Boston film community to 
recruit professional filmmakers willing 
and able to teach. She also chooses the 26 
apprentices who will learn their trade on a 
feature production and get a screen cred- 
it on a distributed film. Each apprentice 



Laura Wilson 

CITYSCAPE MOTION 
PICTURE EDUCATION 

by Rob Sabal 




plunks down between $1,100 and $1,900 
for training by an experienced profession- 
al filmmakers prior to production; these 
professionals will then supervise the 
apprentices during the production 
process. For example, there are three 
apprentices to the director of photogra- 
phy. Each receive training on 35mm cam- 
era equipment, learn lighting, and have 
an opportunity to serve on the camera 
unit. They also camera operate under the 
supervision of the professional in charge. 

There are apprentices to the director, 
line producer, unit production manager, 
sound recordist/designer, assistant direc- 
tor, script supervisor, production designer, 
editor, and in the grip/electrical unit. 
Most of the apprentices, in their late 20s 
and early 30s, have long held aspirations 
of being in film production. Cityscape 
gives them a chance to try out filmmaking 
without enrolling in a traditional film 
school, quitting their day jobs, moving to 
Los Angeles or New York, or maxing out 
their credit cards making a film of their 
own. 

Roger Corman, the legendary filmmak- 
er who launched the careers of such well- 
known directors as John Sayles, Jonathan 
Demme, and Peter Bogdanovich, is help- 
ing Laura Wilson open the door for a new 
group of aspiring filmmakers. Perhaps 
another superb talent will step across the 
threshold. 

Cityscape Motion Picture Education, 
227 Roxbury St.. Boston, MA 02119; 
(617) 442-4200; lwilson@cityscapefilm. 
com; www.cityscapefilm.com. 

Rob Siihdl is d filmmaker who teach 
Emerson CoHege tn B 



M.n 2001 THE INDEPENDENT 17 



(^ 



L J 'J,' '/r\' ? 



CIRCUIT 



A Cultural Cornerstone 



A festival favorite: Jonas Mekas 
As I Was Moving Ahead 
Occasionally I Saw a Brief 
Glimpse of Beauty. 



The Berlinale at the Crossroads 

by Claus Mueller 



New Cinema, plus various sidebars. Next 
year the Forum and Panorama will be 
upgraded and run as parallel complemen- 
tary events to the Official Selection. 
According to Ulrich Gregor, who served 
as Forum head for 31 years, there's also a 
need for "a greater transparency of deci- 
sion-making and a better profiling of the 
Berlinale as a world festival." Apart from 
the trade journals, the festival is hardly 
covered by the 
international 
press, since the 
artistic quality 
of the Official 
Selection has 
long been considered to be lagging behind 
Venice and Cannes. Thus critics and 
other Berlinale observers expect Kosslick 
to upgrade the quality of the Official 
Selection. De Hadeln was more interested 
in stars and favored market-oriented 
Hollywood-type films. Many films at this 
year's festival required little reflection 
(Hannibal, Traffic, 13 Days, Chocolat, and 
Finding Forrester) compared to the few 
that did (Wit, Quills, Bamboozled). Twelve 
of the 28 features in the Official Selection 
were U.S. -made, yet there was not a single 
feature produced and directed by a 
German. Under Kosslick the pendulum is 
expected to swing toward more innova- 
tive and controversial films. As his track 
record at the foundation shows, his bal- 
ancing act serves well to reconcile artistic 
and commercial criteria. 

Modifications are also due for the 
European Film Market [EFM], an impor- 
tant appendage to the Berlinale, which, 
with 330 films this year, has run out of 
space. Having launched a co-production 
conference at the 2000 Cologne Medien 
Forum, Kosslick is likely to recapitulate 
this at the Berlinale. He will probably also 
become involved in the local film founda- 
tion scene, which has not been too recep- 
tive to U.S. indies. Overall, a greater 
openness towards challenging films, an 
expansion of the market, and the possible 
introduction of a co-production compo- 




The Berlin International Film Festival 
(or Berlinale), ranked with Cannes and 
Venice among the top three European 
film festivals, is about to change. It direc- 
tor, Moritz de Hadeln, was recently 
replaced by Dieter Kosslick, the man who 
transformed Germany's NRW Film 
Foundation into Europe's second largest 
public funding source for films [see 
"Teutonic Treasures," The Independent, 
November 2000]. As Germany's national 
film festival, the Berlinale is now com- 
pletely funded by federal agencies. This 
means sufficient resources will be avail- 
able to Kosslick to innovate, following the 
strategy of Germany's former Secretary of 
Culture, Michael Naumann, to transform 
Berlin into a principal cultural metropolis 
of Europe. The Berlinale serves as a cor- 
nerstone of this metropolis, which is one 
of the reasons why Naumann was instru- 
mental in removing de Hadeln and 
appointing Kosslick. 

The Berlinale consists of the Official 
Selection, the somehow subordinated 
Panorama, the International Forum of the 



nent will benefit American independent 
filmmakers. 

Yet there is continuity. Wieland Speck 
will continue to helm the Panorama, 
while Beckie Probst retains her position as 
the chief of the European Film Market. 
Even the replacement of Ulrich Gregor by 
his collaborator Christoph Terhechter will 
not be dramatic, since Terhechter was 
trained by Gregor. As the director of the 
influential Deutsche Freunde der 
Kinematek (roughly comparable to the 
Lincoln Center Film Society, which holds 
the New York Film Festival), Gregor con- 
tinues to influence the Forum. 

As distinct from Venice and Cannes, 
Berlin's annual festival is an audience-ori- 
ented event serving a major metropolitan 
public, which is upscale in cultural orien- 
tation and interested in intelligent films. 
Directors and programmers both consider 
the Berlinale audience an "exemplary" 
(beispielhaftes) public, to quote Wieland 
Speck. The Berlinale has therefore 
become Europe's primary conduit for pro- 
ductions aimed at major urban audiences 
via the arthouse circuit. Principal buyers 
and producers from public and some pri- 
vate television networks attend, as do 
representatives from the limited European 
non-theatrical sector. For numerous festi- 
val directors participation is mandatory, 
since the Berlinale is the first major "A" 
festival in the calendar year, offering 
selections for other festivals that follow. 

For U.S. independent films seeking 
such audiences, the Panorama and 
European Film Market are ideal entry 
points. Yet filmmakers should note that 
few indie productions are "discovered" at 
the Berlinale. Most have been already 
identified by potential buyers at the last 
Sundance festival, the IFP Market, or 
other international venues. For example, 
though 266 productions from the U.S. 
were submitted to the Forum this year, 
Gregor did not select a single film from 
that group. In his words "the films were 
too market-oriented, had little innovative 
value, and frequently recapitulated con- 
tent and format of other films." Virtually 
all the U.S. films he chose were hand- 
picked through other avenues. Thus 
Shelly Dunn Frumont's Pie in the Sky: The 
Brigit Berlin Story was discovered five 
months earlier at the IFP Market, and the 
monumental As I Was Moving Ahead 
Occasionally I Saw a Brief Glimpse of 



18 THE INDEPENDENT May 2001 



Beauty, a five -hour film by the godfather 
of independent cinema, Jonas Mekas, was 
booked after personal communications 
with Gregor. 

This is markedly different from the 
experience of the 2001 Panorama. More 
U.S. independents were presented than 
in past years, apparently reflecting greater 
innovations in script and production 
approaches. This year's crop of U.S. 
indies included 1 1 out of 56 titles, as 
compared to last year's six. Many dealt 
with gay/lesbian/transgendered themes or 
with Germany's past — two areas in which 
the Panorama and Berlinale have tradi- 
tionally been strong. The Panorama pro- 
grammed 10 of the 40 official Berlinale 
selections that dealt with gay, lesbian, 
and transgender issues. Such films play 
very well in Berlin, with its large gay com- 
munity and multicultural tolerance. The 
Berlinale is also the only major A-list fes- 
tival with an award for best film on a gay 
or transgendered topic, the Teddy, which 
was initiated by de Hadeln. 

A constant theme in the Berlinale is 
Germany's past — the Third Reich, the 
Holocaust, or related topics. For Wieland 
Speck, whose documentary Escape to Life: 
The Klaus and Erika Mann Story was pre- 
sented at the Berlinale, this concern will 
hold for future years, too, since "there are 
thousand of themes remaining from that 
period in German history [that] present 
conflicts or issues which can never be 
resolved." Such films still attract sell-out 
crowds. 

Meanwhile, the Independent Feature 
Project's [IFP] showcase in the European 
Film Market screened 10 new American 
productions, selected from 120 films at 
the IFP market in New York the preced- 
ing September. The showcase seems to be 
gaining in importance, since this year 
more IFP selections were considered by 
buyers than in 2000. Among them, 
Bombay Eunuch, a sensitive treatment of 
marginalized transgendered communities 
in India (by directors Alexandra Shiva, 
Sean MacDonald, and Michelle 
Gucovsky) is in negotiations with the 
French-based distributor F for Films. Two 
were already represented by Jan 
Rofekamp from Films Transit Inter- 
national: Pie in the Sky: The Brigit Berlin 
Story, by Shelly Dunn Fremont and 
Vincent Fremont, which documents an 
Andy Warhol superstar, and Southern 



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Five Days / 150 Films 

Over $10,000 In Cash Prizes 

Workshops / Music Showcases 

Vendor Expo / And of course, parties! 

Academy Award® Qualifying 
Festival For Shorts & Animations 

Academy Award® Qualifying Run For 

NIFF Regal Cinemas Dreammaker 

Award Winning Feature 



^INTERMEDIA 

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! FIRST AMENDMENT CENTER 



Workshops sponsored by: 



AA 

American Airline - 



Special support provided 
by the Academy of Motion 
Picture Arts & Sciences 



www.nashvillefilmfestival.org 
NIFF Box 24330 / Nashville, TN 37202 
niffilm@bellsouth.net / ph. 615.742.2500 



Comfort, Kate Davis' sensitive portrait of 
a trangendered couple and their friends. 
Rofekamp also wound up negotiating for 
the rights to Promises by Justine Shapiro 
and B.Z. Goldberg, which picked up an 
audience award at the Rotterdam festival 
a few days earlier. Tom Zuber's feature 
Lansdown, about a lawyer's murder of his 
wife's lover, was selected for the San 
Sebastian festival, and Virgil Bliss, a film 
on a career teenage thief, prompted 
inquiries from several buyers, including 
Arte. According to producer John 
Maggio, even if 
there is no sale, 
his contact with 
potential funders 
at the Berlinale 
are invaluable 
for future pro- 
jects. 

The institu- 
tional support 
provided by IFP 
was crucial for 
U.S. indies 

attending the 
Berlinale. This 
ranged from 

funding a print 
{Southern Com- 
fort) to covering ^ |(J m 
travel expenses Jack Comforty's The 
and European Optimists-. An intimate 
Film Market documentary on the 

rescue of Bulgarian 
costs for the 10 JeW s from the 
selected direc- Holocaust. 
tors/producers. 

In addition, there were the IFP's custom- 
ary information, marketing, and hosting 
services. Such support and gate-keeping is 
a must in a period of sharply increasing 
competition for limited screening slots. 
Excluding the EFM, the Berlinale 
received about 2,560 submissions for the 
161 slots in the Official Selection, 
Panorama, Forum, and New German Film 
sections — an increase of more than 10% 
over last year. Market segmentations with 
a growing number of distribution plat- 
forms is another factor necessitating 
expert advice. Prior exposure of a film in 
other venues, such as Sundance, scoring 
of awards, sales potential to television, 
and the absolute need for the filmmaker 
to take a very active role in promoting his 
or her film are other es